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PIRATE! Captain Morgan Gets A Yo Ho Ho And Admiral Nelson Gets A No No No In Knock-Off Hooch Suit Over Trademark Infringement

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FREDERIKSTED — No, no, no and a bottle of rum!

Rum peddling pirate Captain Morgan is forcing a rival to walk the plank — successfully winning a lawsuit against a suspiciously similar buccaneer-branded booze called Admiral Nelson for trademark infringement.

Canada’s federal court ruled June 12 that consumers could easily confuse the six-year-old upstart for the iconic spiced rum brand, and Admiral Nelson is now banned from selling bottles featuring the copycat corsair on the country’s shelves, according to the Globe and Mail.

“There were really unmistakeable similarities in the appearance,” said Mark Evans, a lawyer for Captain Morgan’s parent company Diageo based in London. Captain Morgan spiced rum is made locally here on St. Croix.

Like Captain Morgan, Admiral Nelson is depicted as a swashbuckling sailor who also sports naval attire, a cape, a sword, and fancy facial hair.

Captain Morgan’s lawyers argued that the mimicry is especially egregious because the “blatantly confusing historical character” looks nothing like the real Admiral Nelson — who, unlike the red-haired, eye-patch-wearing freebooter on the bottle, was not a pirate at all.

The real Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson, an 18th century British Naval officer, had grey hair, two eyes, and lost his right arm in battle.

Captain Morgan — an “iconic and beloved character,” according to the lawyers — is based on an actual 17th century pirate.

The judge also ordered Admiral Nelson’s Kentucky based parent company Heaven Hill Distilleries to pay Diageo an unspecified bounty in damages and send all of its knock-off hooch to Davy Jones’ locker.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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