Here’s why a UK-based vodka company says Ghost is suing them—UPDATE
There's been an alleged mixup between two brands using the name Ghost. One, is the iconic Swedish metal band, Ghost. The other is the U.K. vodka distillery Ghost Vodka. Well, allegedly the band has filed legal action against the alcohol maker.
In a series of posts on Facebook, Ghost Vodka claims that they received legal correspondence from Ghost over their name. They say it is due to the "apparent confusion between their [Ghost the band] gin and our [Ghost the distillery] vodka."
The last big news we heard from Ghost was when Tobias Forge bid a fond farewell to Cardinal Copia at their last show for 2020 in Mexico City. Unfortunately, an attendee of that show was also the first case of death by the coronavirus in Mexico.
Now it seems, Ghost is getting some unfortunate publicity again. On May 9, Ghost Vodka took to Facebook to update their fans about a "bemusing" event that just occurred.
The post claims that Forge is taking legal action against them for "making vodka." The post came with a joke picture seeing Forge sporting the haircut one would find in a 'Karen' meme. They also jested saying "don’t worry Tobias Fitta, the next batch [of vodka] won’t be releasing any rock albums either"
Recently we were rather bemused to receive legal correspondence on behalf of the Swedish band Ghost and their lead singer, Tobias Fitta Forge, informing us of action they wish to take against us for.....um....making vodka ?♂️ As if 2020 wasn’t strange enough already. We will keep everyone up to date with developments on this matter as they happen because, if nothing else, we could all do with a good laugh at the moment ?
We hope everyone is keeping safe at the current time. Our distillery will shortly begin producing our next batch of delicious vodka and we hope you can all enjoy one of our Ghost cocktails again once this madness has passed. Cheers! ?
(p.s. don’t worry Tobias Fitta, the next batch won’t be releasing any rock albums either)
Today (May 13), Ghost Vodka gave another update on their Facebook trying to clear up what the whole situation was about. They also shared an image of their vodka and Ghost's gin side by side.
The entire Ghost band case in one image ?
To clear up a couple of rumours:
- No, we have never used the band’s image to promote our product. There is no ‘deleted post’.
- Yes, they are suing us solely based upon our name Ghost Vodka and the apparent confusion between their gin and our vodka. See if you can spot the not so subtle differences between the two products.
- No, it’s not ok if it’s your second cousin.
The U.K. firm ends the post with a message to their supporters. They thank them and say that as a small business this is the last thing they need right now. They called the band Ghost "clowns" but can't wait to get back to making vodka.
Thanks for all the support we’ve received so far. It means a lot. We’re a small business and this is the last thing we needed in the current situation. Once these clowns are out the way and and the lockdown eases we look forward to getting back to doing what we do best; making damn tasty vodka ?
Ghost has yet to respond to any of the claims. But, Ghost Vodka Ltd. did offer a statement to Blabbermouth.net about the situation. Apart from mentioning the history of their company, when it was established, their target market and never having heard of Forge or the band, they also tear into Forge's character. They mention the lawsuit against former bandmates and that Forge attacking a small business is very much within character.
"They are trying to schedule a court case for June in Stockholm, despite the current lockdown and travel ban yet to be lifted on the UK and much of Europe. The band seems determined to take advantage of this, knowing full well that we cannot attend the hearing.
"Our thoughts on the matter? We believe Tobias Forge needs the money having recently settled another case out of court. Having observed us since 2016 he now feels that we might have the funds available to provide him with a decent sized settlement. The money made from selling their gin is negligible, the volumes just aren't there. He should stick to what he's good at."
"Until the end of last year we had never heard of Tobias Forge. Having looked into his background, this is all entirely within character. If he can screw over his own bandmates, he will have now qualms in coming after a small, independent business. We respect his success and we can understand how hard he has worked to get where he is, however, there is no excuse for this kind of shitty behaviour on his part."
Read the full statement here.
UPDATE: MAY 14, 2020, 11:39 A.M. ET
According to a statement obtained by Loudwire, Ghost's representatives have responded. The lawsuit is not about vodka vs. gin causing confusion. It's about a trademark registration of "Ghost."
The statement comes from Ann-Charlotte Söderlund Björk, legal counsel and trademark specialist for the firm GOZZO Advokater. They are who is representing the band Ghost in the conflict.
Svensk Drama Pop (SDP) holds an exclusive trademark registration throughout the European Union for the figurative sign ‘Ghost.’ Those rights are licensed to Global Merchandising Services Ltd, in whose interest these proceedings are brought. This case has been on-going for months now, and numerous attempts have been made throughout that period of time to reach an amicable settlement.
This case is not about 'gin vs. vodka,' it’s about trademark rights that grant ownership for any and all alcoholic beverages - gin, whiskey, wine, beer, ale, vodka, etc. For any other EU-based entity to use the word ‘Ghost' as part of its alcoholic beverage brand name would be in violation of SDP’s exclusive rights. SDP is entitled to defend these rights as any other business would when their trademark rights have been infringed. That is standard procedure.
What do you think of the lawsuit between Forge's Ghost and Ghost Vodka? Tell us in the comments below!