Food & Drink

Hey, That's Our Name -- New Traffic Jam Hard Cider Leaves a Bitter Taste at Detroit's Traffic Jam

June 04, 2019, 2:08 PM

Looks mighty tempting . . . unless that's a trademarked name you had first. (Photo: Blake's Hard Cider Co.)

A Macomb orchard's boozy mix of fermented beries and apples may be fruity, refreshing and relaxing, but its name is not original and provokes a Detroit microbrewer's lawsuit.

"Traffic Jam and Snug on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit against another well-established Michigan business, Blake Farms Hard Apple Cider," Melody Baetens writes at The Detroit News.

The complaint alleges that Blake's strawberry, blackberry and raspberry semisweet cider named Traffic Jam violates the Trademark Act of 1946 and other laws.

The 54-year-old Midtown restaurant, which added a microbrewery with the same name in 1992, says in its Detroit court filing that the new hard cider "is likely to cause confusion, mistake or to deceive consumers as the affiliation, connection or assassination of Blake Farms with Traffic Jam." (We don't get assassination either, but it sure enlivens a federal lawsuit delightfully.)

The West Canfield Street business asks a judge to block Traffic Jam cider sales and distribution, and to require that Blake's trash all promo materials with the name (including the video below). It also wants reimbursement for legal fees, naturally.

The Armada family company's "trademark attorneys will be reviewing the complaint," it says in an email to Baetens. The spinoff of Blake Farms, which began on its current site in 1946, was started in 2013 by Andrew Blake -- grandson of first-generation apple growers Gerald and Elisabeth Blake. 

And that's the core of this federal case . . . the seeds of a tart business dispute . . . the ripe matter before the court. 

Read more:  The Detroit News

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