Sazerac at first alleged that the labeling on the left, for Stout’s beer-type product, is way too similar to Fireball’s appearance, as used for many years on its top-selling Fireball cinnamon whisky. Sazerac’s lawsuit is no big surprise because Sazerac is quite aggressive, Fireball has a lot worth protecting, and umm the products do look quite a lot alike to this casual observer. Stout tends to say the products are not alike (only one has a glass bottle, a devil, is beer-like, is American). But even Stout does not go too far in saying the products don’t look alike.
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Sazerac’s claims are barred because the term “fire” and all of the claimed elements of the alleged FIREBALL Trade Dress described in the Complaint are used so frequently by third parties in connection with products characterized by a cinnamon or spicy hot taste that consumers do not perceive them as identifying or signifying any particular source. The use of “fireball” to mean a spicy hot cinnamon flavor is widespread across all manner of foods and beverages, including alcoholic beverages. For example, Atomic Fireballs [were] introduced in 1954. The term “fire” is commonly used to refer...