Competing Schweppes Tonic Waters Get Court’s OK

(CN) – The European Court of Justice rejected a challenge Wednesday over competing bottles of tonic water in Spain, both of which are branded Schweppes.

A parent company called Cadbury Schweppes once owned all Schweppes trademarks in the European Economic Area, but over the years the Schweppes marks registered in the United Kingdom were assigned to Coca-Cola. The Schweppes marks registered in Spain meanwhile belong to the Netherlands-based parent group Orangina Schweppes.

Three years ago in Spain, one of the subsidiaries of Orangina Schweppes claimed its marks were being infringed by a company called Red Paralela, which had been importing bottles of Schweppes-branded tonic water that originated in the United Kingdom.

Uncertain of how to apply EU law, the trial court in Barcelona put the case on hold pending input from the European Court of Justice.

That ruling says Wednesday that Schweppes lacks authority under EU law to preclude tonic-water imports by the proprietor of a national trademark.

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