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Cerveceria Modelo Sues in SDNY For Bootleg Corona Hard Seltzer Sales With Sake Cited

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Feb 15 –    Cerveceria Modelo, makers of Corona, Modelo, Pacifico and Victoria beers, on February 15 filed a lawsuit against CE Brand Strategies for misappropriating the Modelo name for "Modelo Hard Selzer."  

In a 26-page complaint dug up by Inner City Press in the just-filed docket of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Modelo recounts that the defendant "failed its its attempt to introduce a commercially viable "hard seltzer" into the marketplace and, in February 2020, launched Corona Hard Seltzer to rectify that failure. But Constellation cannot se the CORONA trademark for Corona Hard Seltzer because it is outside the Sub-license's express limitation to 'Beer.'"  

 The attached sublicence agreement has the definition: beer means "beer, ale, porter, stout, malt beverages, and any other version of combination of the foregoing, including non alcoholic versison of any of the foregoing."  

 The Complaint, filed by Sullivan & Cromwell, says that the parties specifically agreed to drop from the definition sake and "other similar fermented beverage."  

  Perhaps significantly, Modelo's complaint noted that while Constellation has never called the seltzer "beer" in its ads, on the can it calls it beer "in order to achieve a lower tax rate for the product."

 Modelo wants, along with an injunction, all of its "damages and/or lost profits, and/or Constellation's profits, in any amount to be proven at trial."

The case is Cerveceria Modelo de Mexico, S. de R.L. de C.V. v. CB Brand Strategies, LLC et al., 21-cr-1317 (Unassigned).


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