American Tomahawk

Kühl Sues Jägermeister

I know what you’re thinking, you often wear Kühl clothing while kicking back some Jägermeister, but why would they sue? The answer is this promotional campaign by Jägermeister.

Kühl holds trademarks for clothing, spring water and beverages and asserts that Jägermeister’s use of the term will suffer loss of revenue and goodwill as a result of customer confusion. As evidence of this, Kühl’s President issued this statement last week, “Using the trademarked name KÜHL to promote Jägermeister tarnishes our brand and is a clear infringement of our trademark rights. When I received a screenshot from a magazine publisher asking if KÜHL did a collaboration with Jägermeister, I knew this has created confusion and dilution in the marketplace.” Consequently, they filed a lawsuit against Jägermeister in US District Court in Utah, alleging trademark infringement and dilution.

What do you think?

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28 Responses to “Kühl Sues Jägermeister”

  1. Spencer says:

    I think Kuhl should’ve capitalized on the free advertising and offered to start a collaboration.

  2. pbr549 says:

    I don’t drink Jaeger (any more) or wear Kuhl clothing. I wouldn’t have put 2 and 2 together.

  3. Kit Badger says:

    I think the lawyers will win!

  4. Snakeman says:

    Never heard of Kuhl, and Jägermeister is not what I’m drinking right now, and will never drink it. That stuff is for the kids and frat party’s.

    • Jeff S says:

      and 95%* of German speakers across three countries… as a digestif. 😉

      *Number is completely made-up.

      • NJWinAZ says:

        When I was stationed in Germany it was Kummerling. I didn’t know any of my german friends who drank Jager?

        But yes it was a great way to drink even more alcohol after eating and consuming a bunch of alcohol.

        • Jeff S says:

          Probably has something to do with regional affinities to certain branding… Kümmerling is based near Mainz. Jaegermeister is much further north between Braunschweig and Magdeburg. I live in Bremen and my neighbors all drank Jaeger.

  5. Bushman says:

    Several things to consider.
    It is unknown, which (most likely, American) advertising agency actually created this slogan, however, it still seems odd that German company has let this to happen by overlooking the existence of Kühl trademark.
    However, kühl is just a German word that has the same meaning as English “cool”. That’s exactly what they wanted to say in Jägermeister ad and why Alfwear guys have chosen this word as their new brand name decades ago. Likely, if that lawsuit were filed in any German-speaking country, a judge would tell Kühl to fuck off because it’s a common word. In the US, it is not. Likely, a number of people who know what it actually means is comparable to a number of people who know about the Kühl brand name. Lawyers will definitely use this fact to say that a lot of people will associate this ad with an outerwear brand. Question is, who will spend more on lawyers. But the choice of Utah as a place to file this lawsuit is not random – Kühl definitely made a potentially winning first move.

  6. Patrick says:

    Love the clothing, hate the drink.

  7. BrettW says:

    Ever since Kuhl had there fun with their Che Guevara T Shirts at OR (the shirt had Che on it with the quote “Join the Revolution”) a few years back, I can give a sh!t who they sick their lawyers on. Go Jager!

  8. Preacher says:

    Kühl means cool in German – the origin of Jägermeister.
    By the way, no body who really likes liquer, likes that creepy stuff.
    No offense, but Kuhl, just keep it cool and see that it is coincident.
    Funny: Think of all that company names nowadays. How can anybody form just one sentance without referring to some name or slogan of some english using company in the world?

    Impossible.

  9. Preacher says:

    @SSD: Tag “Umlaut Wars”. Wuhahaha.
    Dude – sometimes I think you got german heritages as much german stuff you post.
    Funny 😛

    • SSD says:

      I was a German language Voice Interceptor (98G) in the late 80s.

      • Preacher says:

        So you needed to analyze your overseas allies phone calls :O ?

        Interessting info you share about yourself – feels like a “secret” that you get to know if you accidently surfed the web too deep 🙂

        • Vin says:

          East Germany was not an ally of the US in the 80’s 😉

          • SSD says:

            Not even a little bit

          • Jester says:

            Oh sure they were, we were all great friends back then!!! That whole wall and barb wire and machine guns thing was just an elaborate joke among a few joes on each side, probably no more than 5-10 guys. There was definitely no spying or political tension or other nefarious stuff going on!!!

  10. Rich says:

    This seems a little ridiculous, as a German I would like to point out that all “kühl” means is cold or chilly.

  11. Marcus says:

    IP lawyers win. Kuhl gains nothing but a legal bill.

    The whole “my friend called me up and he was confused”, ergo there is harm, is hilarious. Maybe he just needs to get out more and study the German lexicon.

  12. BM says:

    I’d like to hear a chime or two from anyone who has started a company and gone forward with receiving a TM/R.

    As I understand the law (and I’m not a lawyer), it’s essentially “use it or loose it”. If you do not prosecute (defend) a patent or trademark infringement, or the possibility of-you loose later cases thereof. Meaning, if Little Johnny from Florida opened a lemonade stand and called it Gatorade or something along that lines, you can bank his parent would get a cease and desist order. It’s the law and you can’t selectively enforce it.

    I have no dog in the fight and don’t have a vote, but for common SA this is how I was read in when starting a company and having a few names TM’d. It’s either don’t take that route to protect it, or defend it against all comers.

    Possibly a bar lawyer can chime in. I’d like to hear another opinion, as defending this crap starts at about 100k.

  13. will sewforkit says:

    Am I reading this right: So Kuhl hijacked a word, and now are pissed if people use it in its original meaning?
    Sad if you ask me…

  14. argo says:

    Kuhl clothing=made in China. No thanks.

  15. Larry says:

    like a lot of stuff out there, this is another case of…

    Can we make this, can we sue them? Well, yes you can.

    Should we make this thing, should we sue them? Well, probably not.

  16. G1E says:

    Kühl has great designed pants and shirts and you could almost imagine they would be work clothes, they are comfortable however they are the most fragile pieces of clothing I have ever owned and have yet to see them through a month without some kind of failure.

  17. mewoolridge says:

    Maybe next time just use kalt? “Nicht Warm” could work in a pinch, but might be a touch judgy for an ad campaign.

    I don’t know man, I’m just here for the umlaut wars.