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Sam Heughan in Legal Battle over “Sassenach” Whiskey


April 14, 2021

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Scottish actor Sam Heughan, known for his role as Jamie Fraser in the TV drama, Outlander, has found himself locked in a trademark dispute with German distiller the Sasse in connection with Heughan’s own whisky brand “The Sassenach”.


Heughan’s firm, The Great Glen Company, reportedly applied to register the trademark “Sassenach” so that his brand could be sold across Europe. The German company opposed the application, arguing that the proposed trademark was too similar to its own “Sasse” trademarks, which it uses to sell whiskies and brandies.


The European Union Intellectual Property Office (“EUIPO”) found in favour of the German company and rejected Heughan’s application on the basis that both names are visibly too similar and insufficiently discernible.


Heughan’s representatives argued that “Sassenach” – a Gaelic term – is easily identifiable as a popular nickname used in Outlander. It’s the nickname Heughan’s character Jamie Fraser gives to his on-screen love interest Claire. However, the EUIPO did not find there was sufficient evidence to establish the popularity of the TV series in Germany and, by extension, the popularity of the proposed trademark.


According to the Daily Record, Heughan is appealing the EUIPO’s decision.

Authors: Awale Deria and Larissa Fulop

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