OGDEN — To those watching from the outside, the 2-year-old lawsuit between two of the biggest players in Utah’s burgeoning specialty soda shop industry seems like a case of energy misspent.
Shalee Timothy, co-owner of four FiiZ franchises, including one in downtown Ogden, dubs the legal tussle “silly.”
“It puts a bad taste in my mouth the way they have treated each other. They did not have to bring it as far as they did,” he said.
That said, Maynor acknowledges he doesn’t know all the ins and outs of the lawsuit, filed by Swig against Sodalicious in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City in 2015. And to play it safe, he avoids use of the word “dirty” — at the center of the dispute — to describe his syrup-infused soft drinks.
“You can get a Filthy Dr. Pepper here or an Extra Filthy Dr. Pepper,” he said.
Swig filed the suit, charging, in part, that Sodalicious infringed on its trademark on use of the word “dirty” to describe the sorts of drinks each business prepares — Coca-Cola, Mountain Dew and other soft drinks blended with shots of sugary, flavored syrup and other ingredients.
Swig opened its first soda location in 2010, helping launch the industry in Utah and preceding the arrival of Sodalicious, FiiZ and other players.
Along the way, Swig tradmarked use of the word “dirty” in describing its beverages with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2014.
At any rate, Sodalicious has rejected Swig’s charges, saying “dirty” is a generic term for soft drinks with added ingredients. It’s also filed a counterclaim, asking that Swig’s trademark be canceled.
Nicole Tanner, majority stakeholder in Swig, declined comment on the case since it’s still winding through court, while a Sodalicious representative didn’t immediately return a query seeking comment. But others have opinions.
The case has dragged on too long “and they should just get over it,” said Timothy.
Shelly Betz, co-owner of Island Splash, a Roy soda store, wonders how Swig secured the trademark in the first place. “I don’t know how you can patent ‘dirty’,” she said.
Nonetheless, she steers clear of use of the word at her locale in light of the court case, just like Maynor.