A federal judge has ruled that Dairy Queen cannot hinder W.B Mason Co from selling their bottled spring water called “Blizzard,” which is the same name as a famous ice cream product made by a Berkshire Hathaway Inc unit.
The judge ruled in favor of W.B Mason, finding that there was insufficient evidence to prove customers were confused by their product or W.B. Mason’s intention to do so when designing it.
Dairy Queen is a well-known ice cream brand that started using the “Blizzard” name in 1946. It has five registered trademarks for this delicious frozen treat.
Though recognizing that W.B. Mason, which has two Blizzard trademarks, is not a direct competitor, Dairy Queen stated that customers might be confused due to its US restaurants selling bottled water.
However, the judge stated that the products had “very different audience appeal” and have both existed for 11 years even with proof that Dairy Queen’s Blizzard had reached “iconic” status – with estimated US sales of $1.1 billion in 2020.
“Dairy Queen introduced no evidence of an actual association between the two products,” Nelson said in a statement. “If association were to occur, in all likelihood, it would have occurred by now.”
The judge finally announced their decision last fall after 12 days of a non-jury hearing with 30 witnesses. The ruling is dated June 10th, but it was made private for a week.
Dairy Queen stated that it was dismayed and assessing whether to appeal and would “vigorously enforce our rights when necessary” to safeguard the franchisees.
In a statement, a Nixon Peabody partner representing W.B. Mason, Jason Kravitz, described the decision as “a supremely satisfying and hard-fought win.”
Dairy Queen’s Blizzard has a wide variety of flavors, including fruit and mix-ins like nuts or M&Ms.
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