New Orleans company sues over alleged Hand Grenade drink infringement

By Chandra Lye | Jul 25, 2016

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans’ Tropical Isle has fined a complaint against a North Carolina company claiming the company has been making its trademark Hand Grenade drink.

Tropical Isle claims that Bourbon Street Wilmington purchased its Hand Grenade mix and labelled cups several years ago. It issued a cease-and-desist letter to the Wilmington company at the time, which led to a settlement in 2013.

As part of the agreement, Bourbon Street Wilmington paid Tropical Isle money for “infringing sales.” It also agreed to stop infringing on the trademark and agreed to pay for any additional civil action.

Tropical Isle now belives Bourbon Street has been selling the drinks again, despite the agreement that it would stop.

The owner of Bourbon Street Wilmington, Kevin Corbett, said he has not infringed on the trademark. He also pointed out he does not own the company named in the 2013 settlement, Bourbon Street LLC.

Gretna-based lawyer Peter Russell, said the proof of burden is on the plaintiff in the case.

“All they have is an agreement, basically like a contract, that has been signed off by a judge saying you won't use the Hand Grenade by Bourbon Street LLC,” Russell told the Louisiana Record. "You will agree not to use it and whatever damage that they may have agreed to at that time would have been taken care of. This new company is alleging here ‘look that business is no longer around anymore.’”

Russell also said the case raised many interesting questions. He also said to think of a company like a person.

“Did this person change their name and it is still the same person? Or did new people come together and make a baby – a company?" he asked. "If this is a new person, even if it has some of the other parties involved, but it truly is a new company the liability is going to be hard to attach. You have to bring a different type of suit, make an allegation of a trademark infringement. If he keeps his suit, he is going to have to overcome a big burden to show that this new company is actually the same person and all they did was just change names.”

The complaint accuses Bourbon Street of trademark infringement, trademark counterfeiting, trademark dilution, unfair competition and breach of contract.

“They are saying that what they make is essentially a copy, brand for brand, look for look, or near approximate enough as the original trademark,” Russell explained.

Tropical Isle considers it drink “New Orleans Most Powerful Drink” and said it is “world famous," according to its website. It also claims the drink is only sold at its locations on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Tropical Isle is seeking money allegedly made off its drink along with court costs and any damages.

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