NEW YORK — PepsiCo, Inc. has hit a roadblock with the marketing of one of its new energy drinks after a US federal court ruled the Purchase, NY-based company must stop using the Mtn Dew Rise Energy name.
Lorna Schofield, a US District Judge in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, ruled on Nov. 4 that PepsiCo “shall not use or display the challenged mark in the market in connection with the promotion, sale or distribution of single-use, canned energy beverages.”
The complaint was filed earlier this year by Rise Brewing Co., which sells ready-to-drink, canned coffee and tea-based beverages that are marketed and sold as Rise. Each can features the brand Rise in large, red capital letters against a light background on the top third of the can.
Rise Brewing met with representatives of PepsiCo’s innovation team to discuss a potential partnership opportunity in 2017, according to background information contained in the Nov. 4 ruling. Discussions also occurred in 2018 and 2019, but no deal was struck. Then, in March 2021, PepsiCo introduced Mtn Dew Rise Energy, which features the Rise portion of the logo in all-capital, brightly colored letters against a light background on the top third of the can.
Rise Brewing subsequently sued PepsiCo in June for trademark infringement.
In issuing her ruling, Judge Schofield said Rise Brewing has “submitted credible evidence that it faces an existential threat” from PepsiCo’s infringement.
“For example, at the Oct. 8, 2021, hearing, (Rise Brewing) elicited testimony that (PepsiCo’s) product has dissuaded at least one investor from re-upping his investment, and additional testimony makes clear that (Rise Brewing’s) corporate identity is at risk if (PepsiCo) continues to saturate the market,” the Nov. 4 ruling stated.
PepsiCo has not commented on the ruling.
Featuring no added sugar and 25 calories, Mtn Dew Rise Energy contains approximately 180 mg of caffeine (compared with 77 mg in original Mtn Dew soda), vitamins A and C, antioxidants, citicoline, zinc and fruit juice. The beverage comes in 16-oz cans and is available in six flavors: Pomegranate Blue Burst, Orange Breeze, Strawberry Melon Spark, Tropical Sunrise, Berry Blitz, and Peach Mango Dawn.
The debut of Mtn Dew Rise Energy in March kicked off PepsiCo’s multiyear partnership with National Basketball Association player LeBron James.