Lion forced to scrap ‘Barefoot’ name

Posted by Janice Wong on 21st May 2010

The High Court of Australia has ordered Lion Nathan National Foods to scrap the word ‘Barefoot’ on its Barefoot Radler beer range, after losing a trademark case against US wine giant E. & J. Gallo Winery.

Gallo is the current registered owner of the registered trade mark ‘Barefoot’ and took the brewer to the Federal Court more than two years ago, claiming Lion Nathan’s Barefoot Radler brand infringed Gallo Winery’s ‘barefoot’ trademark, used to sell budget wines.

The origin of the name ‘Barefoot Radler’ came from the word ‘Radler’, the German word for cyclist, and a traditional Bavarian beer flavoured with a mixture of lemon and lime. Lion Nation wanted to create a radler that was a natural match for the outdoor Australian lifestyle, standing for “a more relaxed approach, to life in general, and everything else in particular”.  “Life’s better barefoot” is the tag line for Barefoot Radler.

The court report exposed that in February 2007, searches were made of the Register by Lion Nathan which revealed the registered trade mark. It appears that the use by Lion Nathan of the trade mark ‘Barefoot Radler’ on beer, in the light of the discovery of the registered trade mark, did not concern those responsible at Lion Nathan because the main focus of the company’s attention was beer, not wine.

However the High Court ruled earlier this week (19 May) in favour of Gallo.

Lion Nation states “We are disappointed by today’s High Court ruling, which represents a substantial change to Australian trade mark law. However we are moving forward and transitioning to a new trade mark, Bare Cove Radler.”