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Issue Date: Vol. 51, No. 8, August 2011, Posted On: 8/12/2011

Texas Bottler Disputes Dr Pepper Snapple Lawsuit

Emily Jed
vending business, Dublin Dr Pepper, Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc., Dr Pepper Bottling Co. of Dublin, vending, vending machine business

DUBLIN, TX -- Dr Pepper's oldest and smallest bottler has responded to Dr Pepper Snapple Group's lawsuit, claiming it has done nothing to violate its licensing agreement with the beverage giant.

In its federal suit filed in June in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas, Plano, TX-based Dr Pepper Snapple said that Dublin Dr Pepper violated a licensing agreement by selling beyond its agreed-upon six-county territory via its website and toll-free number and by using an unauthorized logo for its local brand.

The 120-year-old Dublin, TX, bottler markets its cane sugar-sweetened version of Dr Pepper as "Dublin Dr Pepper" in local stores and on the Internet. It is one of several bottlers licensed to make the iconic drink with cane sugar, but Dr Pepper asserts that the bottler is not allowed to modify its trademark name and logo on package labeling

Dr Pepper Snapple has asked the court to terminate its licensing agreement with Dublin Dr Pepper, and to prevent the bottling company from using the Dublin Dr Pepper name. The lawsuit also seeks to prevent sales of the soft drink on Dublin Dr Pepper's website and toll-free number.

Dublin Dr Pepper maintains in its Aug. 9 court filing in response to the suit that it has the legal right to use its unique "Dublin Dr Pepper" label and to continue selling its products online and via its toll-free number.

The Texas bottler argues that corporate Dr Pepper has been inconsistent in its stance, claiming that Dr Pepper Snapple supported its iconic drink and promoted its sale by linking its corporate website to the Dublin bottler's homepage and toll-free number as late as this year. Dublin Dr Pepper also charges that DPSG has not taken similar action against North Carolina and Missouri bottlers that have essentially marketed their products the same way.

In a statement responding to the Texas bottler's filing, Dr Pepper Snapple emphasized that it is not seeking compensation or to prevent Dublin from selling Dr Pepper made with cane sugar. "We simply want them to sell only within their six-county territory and stop marketing and packaging Dr Pepper as 'Dublin Dr Pepper,'" the statement said. "Dublin's conduct dilutes our trademark and creates confusion in the marketplace, because their product is no different from any other Dr Pepper made with cane sugar and sold by several other bottlers."

Dr Pepper Snapple licenses the Dr Pepper brand to more than 170 bottlers across the United States and Canada.

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