An Open Letter from Lodestar Wild Geese to Bacardi


LOS ANGELES, Feb. 05, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lodestar Anstalt today issued the following statement:

We asked nicely but you didn’t answer, so we were forced to ask again in court. We’ve distilled some key points from those legal documents and the public record.

Dear Bacardi,

We’ve heard Bacardi called a “Trademark Pirate of the Caribbean.” We didn’t want to believe it. But now that our trademark has been pillaged, we wonder.

It seems a trend may exist. We wonder what bounds it has — if any.

Perhaps most (in)famously, Bacardi co-opted the iconic photo of Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, with the Sea of Tranquility landing site, lunar horizon, and void of space reflected in the visor of his spacesuit.

Bacardi decided to improve the “visor shot” in an ad campaign depicting a bottle of rum pouring its contents onto an image of Aldrin with the lower half of his body adorned in swim trunks and fins. Aldrin, a recovering alcoholic, wasn’t amused. After Bacardi co-opted the achievements of this extraordinary man of courage for its own commercial benefit, Aldrin felt compelled to sue to stop misappropriation of his image and identity. Bacardi ultimately settled and apologized, after public backlash.

Then there’s Bacardi’s two-decade, back-and-forth battle with Pernod Ricard and its Cuban partner over ownership of the Havana Club rum trademark. Even now, you are still arguing over who makes the “real” Cuban rum and accusing Pernod of profiting from a “stolen” trademark.

Congress members are even currently involved in helping Bacardi seek to overturn a ruling that was in favor of the other side. A United States Representative from Florida (where Bacardi’s U.S. operations are based) said the U.S. needs to “honor our nation’s intellectual property laws and policies.”

One wonders, Does Bacardi believe that honoring U.S. intellectual property laws is the right thing to do when Bacardi is the one being accused of expropriating someone else’s trademark?

Which brings us to us.

A few years back, Bacardi was apparently looking to re-brand itself and challenge consumer perceptions that Bacardi was “for girls and douche bags,” according to Bacardi’s brand activation agency.  Bacardi apparently liked our trademark Untamed® based on the true story of The Wild Geese — the name given to the Irish diaspora forced to flee Ireland in 1691 and their defiance in the face of exile with acts of real sacrifice and heroism. So Bacardi created the Bacardi Untameable advertising campaign — a reference to its purported hardship after fleeing Cuba.

Like Buzz Aldrin, we weren’t amused. We sued you, claiming trademark infringement and unfair competition. That lawsuit is making its way through federal court.

These trademark cases are notable.

What about lesser-known ones that drift by barely detected, such as when Bacardi (maker of Grey Goose vodka) in 2016 shot down an effort by a competitor to market Goose Green, a vodka named for a battle in the Falklands War? A settlement was reached, and Goose Green never got off the ground. How many others have there been?

Finally, Bacardi must answer these questions and more in U.S. court. Until now, you’ve been able to comfortably shield yourself behind a Bermuda facade. No longer. For the first time, a federal judge has ruled that parent company Bacardi Limited must answer under U.S. legal jurisdiction.

Nothing to hide, is there? Or is shining any light too bright and undesirable?

We’re anxiously awaiting your answers.

Feeling Plundered,
Lodestar Anstalt, Maker of Untamed® Revolutionary Rum and The Wild Geese Soldiers and Heroes® Irish Whiskey and other fine liquors

Andre J. Levy, Chairman
Lodestar Anstalt
+41 794871795