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News blog6 October 2020Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises2 min read

Tequila vs. Heineken and Yoko Ono filing copyright and confidentiality infringement claim against Seaman

Good morning everyone. It is officially fall season! Hope you all had a good weekend. Here is what you missed last week:


Desperados and its “tequila flavoured” beer

Ever since 2017, Heineken and the Regulatory Council of Tequila have been in an ongoing dispute due to the unauthorised and improper use of the Denomination of Origin “Tequila” for Heineken’s “tequila flavoured” Desperados. The dispute was resolved in favour of the regulatory council and Heineken could no longer state that its beers were “tequila flavoured”.

Apparently, the European Brewers Association filed a complaint before the Commission claiming “obstacles to Tequila import to the EU”, a complaint that has now culminated into the launch of an official investigation by EU authorities. This complaint stems from the decision of the regulatory council to stop granting export certificates to the companies producing and exporting Tequila to the EU destined to be used for flavoured beers. This decision mainly affected the brand “Tequilas del Señor” and only regarding exports to Heineken’s French subsidiary where the tequila was then adulterated to create the tequila flavour.

The regulatory council considers that said export did not comply with the Norma Oficial Mexicana NOM-006-SCFI-2012, regarding labelling, designation and specifications for this specific alcoholic beverage. Indeed, the council stresed that this decision should not be seen as a trade barrier but rather as a measure adopted when traceability is no longer possible in order to avoid infringement of Tequila regulations and laws. Tequila law NMX-V-049 was also infringed. Indeed, tequila flavoured goods should have, at least, a 25% concentration of tequila in order to be labelled as such. Desperados uses less than 1% in its beer.

The results of the investigation will be known in 5 to 7 months and the IP Sentinel will, of course, keep you updated.


Yoko Ono filed for copyright and confidentiality infringement

Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s widow, has filed for copyright infringement against John’s former personal assistant who is trying to gain profit from using John’s memorabilia. This personal assistant recently gave an interview discussing John and his murder. During this interview, he was surrounded by John’s memorabilia. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The dispute between Ono and Seaman (the assistant) has been ongoing since 1983 when Seaman admitted taking private photos, letters and journals from the Lennon’s residence. In 1999, Seaman revealed to have stolen property that belonged to Lennon, property that he proceeded to sell. In 2002, the parties came to an agreement: Seaman agreed to give up copyright over the photos of the Lennon family, stop giving interviews regarding John Lennon and accepted to sign a confidentiality agreement.

However, during the interview (interview that violates the terms of the settlement agreement), Seaman revealed its intention to release an updated version of his book “the last days of John Lennon”, a claim that violates the confidentiality agreement and the settlement they reached back in 2002. Hence, Yoko is now suing for copyright infringement, seeking damages and for Seaman to stop profiting from John’s name.


This is all for this week. Have a very nice week.


Publication date
6 October 2020
Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises