No Trademark for Drink Exploiting Viagra Name

     (CN) – A Polish energy drink called “Viaguara” would “ride on the coattails” of Pfizer’s erection-enhancement drug Viagra, which is already trademarked throughout Europe, the EU General Court ruled.



     Viaguara, which is headquartered in Warsaw, makes both alcoholic and nonalcoholic energy drinks using the company’s name. The alcoholic drinks contain guarana, a plant native to Brazil. The fruit of the guarana contain twice the amount of caffeine as a coffee bean, which Viaguara claims has stimulating and fortifying effects on the mind, body and health.
     Guarana was also a key ingredient in Four Loko, which enjoyed a short and controversial spotlight in the United States until Phusion Projects had to reformulate the product amid widespread bans in 2010.
     Affirming the decision of the Office of Harmonisation in the Internal Market, the court said Wednesday that Viaguara cannot be registered as a community trademark for drinks.
     “Even if the non-alcoholic drinks concerned do not actually have the same benefits as a drug to treat erectile dysfunction, the consumer will be inclined to buy them thinking that he will find similar qualities, such as an increase in libido,” because of the mental association with Viagra, the Luxembourg-based court said in a statement.
     The court also worried how young Europeans would evaluate Viaguara’s alcoholic drinks since the Pfizer drug has a “recreational” reputation among those consumers.
     Trademark similarity between Viagra and Viaguara is an attempt to benefit from the more established product’s “power of attraction, its reputation and prestige, and to exploit, without paying any financial compensation, the marketing effort expended by” Pfizer, the court said.
     Under EU rules, Viaguara has two months to appeal the General Court’s decision to the Court of Justice, on points of law only.
     The General Court’s decision is not available in English.

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