Shire City Herbals, the maker of Fire Cider, a brand of apple cider-based tonics, owns the trademark for “fire cider” as it pertains to dietary supplement drinks. The company alleges that Temple Turmeric’s Pure Fire Cider infringes on that trademark, which the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted Shire City in 2012. Earlier this year, the company sought to extend the trademark to non-alcoholic beverages.
In its lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for Massachusetts on November 3, Shire City claims that Temple is “targeting, among others, Massachusetts consumers in order to drive those consumers to purchase a tonic product similar to Shire City’s Product and in connection with which Defendant uses a trademark virtually identical to Shire City’s Mark.”
Temple’s Pure Fire Cider launched nationwide at Whole Foods stores in early September. Packaged in 10 oz. plastic bottles, the ready-to-drink product is made with apple cider vinegar, ghost pepper, horseradish, turmeric, ginger and added probiotics. The formulation for Shire City’s Fire Cider, which comes in sweetened and unsweetened varieties, includes a number of the same ingredients, including apple cider vinegar, turmeric, ginger, and is designed to be consumed in small amounts or mixed with other liquids. The company packages the product in apothecary-style bottles and labels them with a supplement facts panel.
Temple Turmeric was unable to comment for this article. Calls and emails to Fire Cider have been unreturned.
This is not the first time that Shire City has attempted to defend its trademark from what it perceives to be unauthorized use of the term. In January, 2014, the company took action to remove Fire Cider-labeled products listed for sale on Etsy.com, an online marketplace for handcrafted goods. Since then, a group claiming that “fire cider” is a generic term and has long been used to describe a type of spice-infused, cider vinegar-based tonic, formed a campaign called “Free Fire Cider,” which seeks to cancel Shire City’s trademark.