LOS ANGELES, Feb. 27, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A federal judge overseeing a bitter trademark suit was asked today to force Bacardi to admit spying on the chairman of rival Lodestar Anstalt and his wife after the lawsuit began, Lodestar said. 

Lodestar accuses Bacardi of trademark infringement as well as unfair competition and seeks to uncover Bacardi’s role in “pay-to-play” schemes designed to force smaller competitors out of the market.

Today’s filing in U.S. District Court alleges that Bacardi repeatedly ignored or sidestepped serious inquiries by Lodestar’s legal team.

It seeks to verify whether Bacardi attempted to “intimidate witnesses” by putting Lodestar’s Chairman Andre Levy and his wife under surveillance after Lodestar filed its suit. When asked in legal documents about surveillance, Bacardi refused for months to reply — and when it finally did respond, Bacardi “did not deny the accusation,” the filing states.

In addition, Bacardi didn’t deny ordering surveillance on individuals and entities in other lawsuits, the filing says.

At the heart of the suit is Lodestar’s allegation that Bacardi “cut and pasted” Lodestar’s signature and trademarked UNTAMED® advertising campaign and used it for its own Bacardi UNTAMEABLE ads, the filing says. Lodestar’s UNTAMED® campaign is based on the story of The Wild Geese, a reference to hardships and acts of real sacrifice and heroism in the face of exile after the Irish Diaspora in 1691.

According to the suit, Bacardi stole Lodestar’s rugged UNTAMED® image because Bacardi was “struggling to rebrand itself.” Even Bacardi’s own advertising agency said consumers perceived that Bacardi’s products were “for girls and douche bags” and that the brand had “weak equity.”

Bacardi simply “hijacked Lodestar’s trademarks, goodwill, and entire backstory” without permission and without paying compensation, the lawsuit says.

Although Bacardi publicly claims that it’s “a long-time supporter of trademark rights” and is "committed to defending the fundamental rights against confiscation,” Bacardi has a “long history of confiscating others’ trademark rights and ideas without any compensation,” the suit says.

The issue of fairness also extends to how competitors are treated.

Bacardi’s been accused of “engaging in hidden campaigns to drive other rum competitors out of the U.S. market,” the suit adds. Its goal is knocking out “small, independent competitors who do not have the resources to fight back."

In 2017, the leader of Bacardi’s North American distribution was fined $3.5 million “for partaking in illicit ‘pay-to-play schemes,’” the filing says.

In a series of earlier Open Letters, Lodestar’s Chairman demands answers about Bacardi’s long history of stealing trademarks, why it’s so secretive about keeping its operations out of U.S. legal jurisdiction, and inconsistencies about its heritage.

Open Letter #3 from Lodestar Wild Geese to Bacardi About (In)Consistency

Open Letter #2 from Lodestar Wild Geese to Bacardi About Secrecy

Open Letter #1 from Lodestar Wild Geese to Bacardi

About Lodestar Anstalt:
Lodestar Anstalt is the maker of UNTAMED® Revolutionary Rum, The Wild Geese Soldiers and Heroes® Irish Whiskey, and other fine liquors.

Contact:
Andre J. Levy, Chairman
Lodestar Anstalt
bacardiexposed@protonmail.com
+41 794871795
http://www.bacardi-controversial.com/

OR

G. Warren Bleeker
Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP
wbleeker@lrrc.com
(626) 795-9900

Photos accompanying this announcement are available at

http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/629f2957-01f6-40a1-9e75-102a89eddc53

http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/8da88961-884b-4e03-a69b-901795f359da