March 13, 2019
Recently, a Minnesota judge ruled that Dairy Queen, owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc., could proceed with its lawsuit against W.B. Mason Co. for the alleged infringement of its “Blizzard” trademark , used for its popular ice cream product. Dairy Queen seeks to stop W.B. Mason Co., an office supplies distributor, from selling “Blizzard” bottled spring water.
Berkshire Hathaway has owned Minneapolis-based Dairy Queen since 1998. Dairy Queen uses the “Blizzard” title for its famous treat consisting of soft-serve ice cream mixed with candy, chocolate, M&Ms and various other toppings. The company has used this name since 1946 and has five Blizzard trademarks dating back to 1952.
Dairy Queen is concerned about the “Blizzard” bottled spring water sold by W.B. Mason Co. in part because many Dairy Queen stores sell bottled water. This, Dairy Queen asserts in its statement of claim, may cause “irreparable injury” and “customer confusion”. In addition to an injunction, the company is also asking for profits from water sales.
W.B. Mason Co. has filed a counter-claim seeking a declaratory judgment that no trademark infringement or trademark dilution exists in the matter. In its claim, the company argues that it is “not aware of a single person who has ever been confused by its use of ‘BLIZZARD’. Indeed, no reasonable person would ever mistakenly believe that copy paper or spring water sold by W.B. MASON and emblazoned with the W.B MASON mark and logo emanates from, or is associated with, Dairy Queen.”
Authors: Amanda Bertucci and Alexandra Murray