50 Cent and his bosses at Branson Cognac are fighting to dismiss a lawsuit filed on behalf of rival liquor company Remy Martin.
Sire Spirits filed a motion Monday in Manhattan federal court seeking to dismiss a lawsuit filed in August by E. Remy Martin & Co., which claims that the bottle for 50 Cent’s Branson cognac infringes patent and trade dress rights by mimicking Remy’s XO bottle.
Repped by attorneys from Akerman LLP, Sire Spirits didn’t hold back — accusing Remy Martin of asserting bogus IP rights in a “bad faith” lawsuit that was aimed more at hobbling an upstart rival than protecting its brand.
“This action is a naked effort to use meritless litigation to financially destroy a competitor,” Sire’s attorneys wrote Monday. “Remy Martin must be stopped, and the claims against Sire Spirits should not be allowed to survive.”
Though it contained more legalese, Monday’s filing conveyed a similar sentiment to a message posted to Instagram by 50 Cent himself just days after the lawsuit was filed. In the since-deleted post, the rapper mocked Remy Martin — the second best-selling cognac in the world after Hennessy — for being “afraid” of the upstart Branson.
50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, launched Branson in 2018, selling the cognac in a circular bottle with gem-like facets that was designed by the rapper himself. But on Aug. 13, Remy Martin sued on the grounds that the bottle was “nearly indistinguishable” from the shape of its own design.
By suing Sire Spirits for infringing trade dress, Remy Martin essentially accused the newer brand of using a similar-looking bottle to trick consumers into thinking the two companies were associated. The complaint called the shape of the Branson bottle “a blatant attempt” to link itself to Remy Martin. The suit also claimed that the Branson bottle infringed a design patent granted in 2011 that covers a slightly different Remy Martin bottle, which features similar facets to the Branson bottle.
But in Monday’s response, attorneys for 50 Cent’s company argued that Remy Martin’s bottle design was simply too basic to be locked up by any single company.
“No brand or company has the right to exclude others from making or selling curved bottle for Cognac or other alcohol,” Sire’s attorneys wrote. “Nonetheless, Remy Martin is on a mission to eliminate Sire Spirits from the Cognac market.”
An attorney for Remy Martin did not immediately return Billboard’s request for comment on Tuesday (Oct. 19).
Remy Martin, which was founded in 1724, is currently the second best-selling cognac in the world, after market leader Hennessy.