Real-Life Copycat Lesson #6: Coffee-flavored Customer Confusion

06 June, 2019

 The Absolut Company, a major liquor company out of Sweden and producer of Kahlua coffee liquors, have blocked a Hawaii company’s effort to trademark its Kaholo Kona Coffee. The Kaholo coffee brand was founded by a local businessman in an effort to differentiate his coffee from his other snack products sold by Hawaiian Happy Cakes. Aboslut Company asserts that the term Kaholo is “virtually identical” to Kahlua “in that it begins with the letters KAH and ends with the letter L followed by a vowel. It believes this will cause consumers to think Kaholo Coffee is connected to Kahlua’s coffee liquor. Kaholo’s owner claims that his own search of trademark databases has turned up four other names with the same degree of similarity, and none of those were challenged.