Appellate Court Affirms Playboy's $19M Award in Trademark Case

Appellate Court Affirms Playboy's $19M Award in Trademark Case

WESTWOOD, Calif. — An Illinois appellate court has affirmed Playboy Enterprises’ $19 million judgment and injunction against former energy drink brand licensees Play Beverages LLC and CirTran Beverage Corp. 

The court earlier this week tossed Play Beverages and CirTran Beverage’s appeal in the long-running trademark and licensing dispute case.

Playboy’s legal feud against brand licensees Play Beverages and CirTran Beverage has been going on for more than six years and has worked its way through bankruptcy court, federal district courts in California and Illinois and the Chicago-area county court, as well as an Illinois appellate court.

Legal enforcement of its trademarks are important for the Westwood, Calif.-based Playboy. Brand licensing accounts for more than $1.5 billion in annual retail sales of Playboy consumer products in 180 countries. 

In Playboy's original trial against Play Beverages and CirTran Beverage in 2016, a jury unanimously found that the energy drink distributors intentionally sold drinks under Playboy's trademarks after its deal had ended. The jury awarded $7 million to Playboy.

Following that verdict, the Cook County Court issued a permanent injunction against Play Beverages, CirTran Beverage and persons associated with them to stop manufacturing, selling, promoting and advertising Playboy energy drinks.

Then in 2017, the court denied the request of Play Beverages and CirTran Beverage for a new trial, upholding the jury's findings and tripled the trademark infringement award in Playboy's favor from $5 million to $15 million. The court also granted Playboy its attorneys' fees and costs of suit.

The enforceable judgment now totals in excess of $19 million.