Goslings Files Lawsuit Over Dark ‘n Stormy

September 19, 2015

Gosling Brothers has filed a complaint in U.S. Court against Pernod Ricard, the makers of Malibu Rum, for trademark infringement.

“It says the official recipe for a Dark ‘n Stormy calls for 1.5 ounces of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and 4 to 5 ounces of any brand of ginger beer. Using any other brand of rum is incorrect, according to Gosling’s lawsuit,” CourtHouse News reports.

“In October 2014, however, Pernod published a recipe on its website for a Dark ‘n Stormy that used Malibu Rum, rather than Gosling’s.”

Screenshot from the Pernod website showing them promoting a Dark ‘n Stormy recipe with their rum:


“Defendant’s actions are knowing, willful, deliberate and performed with the interest to trade off of Gosling’s goodwill and reputation tied to the iconic Dark ‘N Stormy marks,” the federal complaint states.

“Defendant’s wrongful conduct has caused or will cause Gosling to lose control over the goodwill and reputation associated with the Dark ‘N Stormy marks.”

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Comments (58)

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  1. Realize & Legalize says:

    Well done Goslings! Aint right if it aint black…

    Bermy motto: We stop drinking when de seal drops de barrell

    • Terry says:

      Good one ‘Realize’.

    • DEBBIE says:

      John Barritt & Sons…IS THE ONLY Ginger beer to use…Otherwise it is NOT the original DARK & Stormy.

      see what I’m saying….Now..Have a nice Day.

    • Onion juice says:

      Dont they already sell Gosling’s Dark and Stormy in cans, so they have nothing to worry about, its like the Swizzle, who claims the right to make it and everyone makes it different, but it’s still a Swizzle.
      Like the Hurricane drink in New Orleans, Pat O’Brian”s bar birthed it but it’s made different around the world, but the Hurricane drink will always be attached to New Orleans like Dark and Stormy and Rum Swizzle will be to Bermuda.

  2. Build a Better Bermuda says:

    This should actually be of national interest. The Dark n’ Stormy is a Bermudian drink using Bermudian ingredients, for a foreign company to try and lay claim to it is offensive on serval levels. I mean it isn’t even dark nor does it look remotely stormy, plus they can’t even get it right with what is only supposed to require 2 ingredients. Malibu owes all of Bermuda an appology for what is obviously a poor attempt to exploit something that is iconic Bermudian known worldwide

    • Onion juice says:

      Funny how everyone is up in arms for rights for a Bermudian drink, which I agree,but when it comes to the rights if it’s people ………..

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        We live in a time of greater equality than ever before, the equal right to succeed or fail by one own merits or faults or attitude. Where the structures that would impede that are now the exception and not the rule. You spend too much time trying find reasons for your failures everywhere else but where you really should be looking. If everyone thought like you, we wouldn’t have had people breaking down the barriers, just people pointlessly throwing themselves at them and making them bigger.

        • Onion Juice says:

          Hey yo, save that S!@# for Oprah.
          Your talking about Post-Slavery days. We were running things during Ancient Kemet when you were discovering how to make fire, and now you’ve had a monopoly for a few centuries after a barbaric acquisition you want to blow your trumpet about equality.
          Like I said save that S!@# for Oprah.

          • Build a Better Bermuda says:

            Oh yes, cause the Kemet society was a model for social equality and the protection of right for all people… please try another

            • Onion juice says:

              So how far can you go back in our society and we’re supposed to be civilized.
              If you go further than the 70′s you”ll run into trouble.

              • Toodle-oo says:

                Oh boo hoo hoo OJ. you’ve got a one track mind and agenda . I doubt that there’s more than 4 people on here who give a toss what you say or think .
                Now , let me go get some more kleenex . I hope I didn’t break any copyrights there .. lol

              • Ed Case says:

                To be free OJ you just need to cast aside your shackles. You continue to carry them and they weigh you down. You are your own enemy.

              • Build a Better Bermuda says:

                It’s almost laughable your assumptions of history and cultural ancestry, if it wasn’t for the possibility that you are probably trying to pass what you believe to be the only truth as such to others. And that some might believe you. History is never one sided, no matter what side you are on, what side you believe someone else to be on. There have been wrongs and right by all, that is the nature of humanity. But greater problems arise when we choice to live in the past, and not learn from it to move on from it. That is why revolutions are pointless… by their very definitions they are simply circular motions that will always bring you back to where you started from. Social evolution is the only way to move forward… and you are being left behind by it.

          • RBKing says:

            Oh, you’re of North African descent then?

  3. Bermypride says:

    Cayman Islands are also using ‘our’ name and have dark and stormy drinks on the menu using Cayman rum.
    It doesn’t taste as good as Bermuda’s though

  4. Forethebest says:

    I am not “learned in the law,” but certainly to any reasonable, thinking person, “Dark N Stormy” is a Gosling Bros. trademark. Gosling Bros. should guard that trademark with full fervour!

  5. DB says:

    I dont even think Bermuda Rum is even made on the island anymore.

    • Well then says:

      It definitely is still made here :)

    • Toodle-oo says:

      Actually I don’t think it was ever made here . It’s comprised of a number of different products that are all blended here .

      • JCS says:

        A moot point I would think.

        • Toodle-oo says:

          In terms of the lawsuit , yes .
          Just trying to clarify for others who think it’s really made here when in fact it’s ‘blended’ here .
          If it was made here I’m pretty sure we’d have seen a few sugar cane fields and a distillery around somewhere .

          Oh , and btw , curiously the label says ‘product of Bermuda’ , not ‘made in Bermuda’

    • Family Man says:

      It never was.

      Ask Gosling’s if they give a tour of their distillery? Can you get a summer job in the sugar cane fields?

    • Anbu says:

      I assure u it most deffinately is made here. and there is only one man on island who knows the recipe other than malcolm jr.

      • Toodle-oo says:

        You do know the difference between ‘made here’ and ‘blended here’ don’t you ?

      • Jus Wonderin' says:

        It’s blended here so they can claim it’s Bermudian…

    • Carolyn says:

      It is still blended in Bermuda. Bottles in U.S.

  6. Terry says:

    Only thing made locally anymore is noise.

  7. GetYaA$$Straight says:

    I will never touch a bottle of Malibu after this! How disrespectful not only to Goslings but ti my island!

  8. Get over yourselves says:

    This squawking is a bit rich coming from Bermuda. Bermuda isn’t particularly respectful of others’ trademarks.

    This is all a little silly. Or maybe just a way for lawyers to make money. It’s a bar drink. Make it however you want. There’s no “official” body that decides what a drink is, so there’s no “official” recipe.

    Dislike button is below:

    • Terry says:

      Ok lawyer.
      Whats the difference between a McDonalds Burger and a Wendy’s.

      Now get back after a few rums………………………

  9. Everton FC. says:

    I worked as an engineer at the Fairmont Southampton for two years. Lost count how many hotel residents and tourists lost their dignity and self respect due to the power of Dark and Stormy. Cultural shock. Goslings……Keep up the good work.

  10. Barbara D Cooper says:

    Well done GOSLINGS — fight for your right ! And for Bermuda’s Dark ‘N Stormy legacy !

  11. Jus Wonderin' says:

    The only thing Bermudian about Gosling’s Black Seal is the name…..THAT IS IT! …none of the ingredients are from here!

    • Terry says:

      Learn some history and stop wonderin

    • James says:

      the Rum might still be blended here but it is also done in the USA I believe. Ginger beer is not a Bermudian drink specifically they have been drinking it in England for hundreds of years. Barritt’s don’t bottle or can any of their drinks here due to high labour costs and their associated problems. So maybe the name is Bermudian but not much else.

      • Terry says:

        Well all these assumption.
        Mr. Gosling what do have to say.

        Who is the local shipper that transports it abroad.
        Who blends it.
        Can we go get a taste?

  12. Street Smart says:

    De Black Seal Rum is De Best!!! So…… No other concoction can even come anywhere close!!!!

  13. Commodore JB of BBIRYC says:

    What the owners of Malibu rum have done is an outrage. As a 7th generation Bermudian who has enjoyed many a local spirit, I am throwing my full support behind Goslings legal action. The thought of using some poorly blended, coconut flavored rum like product in a Dark n Stormy is akin to christening one of my yachts by smashing a can of Amsterdam lager over the carbon fibre bow – it just wouldn’t happen. In any event, I can assure the public and assure members of BBIRYC that Malibu rum has already been removed from our bar.

    • Onion juice says:

      Would be nice of you to have these same same sentiments when the people of Bermuda are fighting for their RIGHTS.

      • Commodore JB of BBIRYC says:

        Onion Juice, you clearly are in the dark when it comes to my philanthropic exploits and my strong support of my fellow Bermudians. So you care to explain exactly what rights to which you are referring? If you can say that you have personally funded scholarships for Bermudians that total $300,000 a year then perhaps we can have a chat. Until then go have a Malibu rum.

        • Ed Case says:

          If you are feeling generous, OJ could use a scholarship to St Brendans.

  14. Common cent$ says:

    If Goslings has a US copyright on The Dark N Stormy, they can have a suit against them under us copyright Drink and ingredient copyright laws. I believe they would have to file suit within each specific country of the infringement. This could also be a bad move too for goslings if they can’t come to a mutual agreement with Pernod- one of the larger spirits supplier in the world. Southern wine and spirits is a main distributor for both in the USA and Pernod would definitely have a large influence on southern and getting distribution. The liquor biz is a nasty one

  15. TAS says:

    Interesting. Did they actually trademark/copyright/patent the recipe? the name, “Dark N’ Stormy”?

  16. TAS says:

    Oh, and by the way—great Publicity stunt…….

  17. TAS says:

    seems to me that the judge will ask: “Is it possible to make a Dark N’ Stormy drink with any rum?” Gosling will say “No” and others will say, “Yes.”

    The judge will sample both drinks and decide if there is anything uniquely distinct about a Dark N’Stormy made with Gosling from any other…..should be very interesting.

    • Rhonnie aka BlueFamiliar says:

      Legally, it has nothing to do with the recipe of the drink, and everything to do with the naming of it.

      Have they changed the name enough to take them clear of the trademarked name?

      It’s pretty much a judgment call, but even if it weren’t Dark ‘n Stormy under question, I’d say no.

      And, with respect to Gosling’s, it has to be Barritt’s Ginger Beer or it’s not right. And what the heck is with the colour change on the tins? Bad call on marketing, guys.

  18. “In the US, the name “Dark ‘N Stormy” and the corresponding recipe is a trademark of Gosling Brothers Ltd.” Wikipedia.

    Another article from 2009:
    “What’s in a name?” Shakespeare famously asked. In the case of the Dark ‘n’ Stormy, a Bermudan cocktail that’s been making a quiet resurgence in New York City bars and restaurants in the last couple of years, it’s two ounces of Gosling’s Black Seal rum and a fizzy hit of ginger beer.

    And, by law, nothing but.

    That’s according to two trademark certificates on file with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which — in an exceptionally rare instance in the cocktail world — dictate the precise ingredients and amounts required to call a Dark ‘n’ Stormy, well, a Dark ‘n’ Stormy.

    “We defend that trademark vigorously, which is a very time-consuming and expensive thing,” said E. Malcolm Gosling Jr., whose family has owned Gosling’s since its founding in Bermuda in 1806. “That’s a valuable asset that we need to protect.”

    Read more of this article from 2009.The link: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/05/fashion/05shaken.html?_r=0

    So, if people are using this exact name, then they can’t change any part of the recipe. Perhaps if they named the drink “Dark and Stormy”, there wouldn’t be a case to answer.

  19. Double M Quad Twos says:

    I remember when I used to enjoy an alcoholic beverage or twenty… I kind of miss those good days!

  20. Big lad says:

    “Once you go black…”

  21. BermudaGirl says:

    There are REAL problems going on the the world! Really??

  22. Just wondering says:

    are you kidding me?? Malibu have so little imagination that they can’t make up a name for their own drink??? her are some more drinks that you might want to impersonate “Cuba Libre” “Pina Colada” etc!!! Malibu get your marketing people to earn their money and come up with something original!!

    • Toodle-oo says:

      I believe that Bacardi has the t/m rights to the ‘Cuba Libre’.
      It HAS to be made with Bacardi White , Coca Cola and a slice of lime . If you take the lime out it becomes a Bacardi and Coke , believe it or not .
      And if you use any other rum (lime included or not ) it becomes a rum and coke .
      I’m pretty certain that if someone else came along and named their drink using their spirits a Cuba Libre Bacardi would be after them in the same way that Goslings currently are after Malibu .

      • James says:

        I doubt they do. Go to Cuba. Cuba Libre in every bar but never with Bacardi.

        • Toodle-oo says:

          From the same country that tried to steal the ‘Havana Club’ name would you expect anything else ?

  23. other bars too says:

    I was at one of the air ports and notice darkand stormy on the menu advertise and a drink that originates from the Bermuda triangle. I was like what rum do you use for it. it was some weird dark rum I was like no mate ok make me a dark and stormy but use this. I pull a bottle of Gosling’s out and gave it to them. he was like o we have this name brand and pulled out some flat can of ginger beer. and either he mixed it too strong or the ginger beer was to flat. one of the other customers that saw me pull the bottle out of my luage was like should he try it. I was like meh the ginger beer it to old I cant even recommend it to you.