UPDATE: Dueling Dr Peppers

Published in CSP Daily News

Dr Pepper Snapple Group to bottler: "Honor the agreement you signed"

PLANO, Texas -- Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. (DPS) has issued a response to Dr Pepper Bottling Co. of Dublin, Texas' August 9, 2011, filing in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas. The suit, filed June 28 by DPS subsidiary Dr Pepper/Seven Up Inc., charges that the bottling company is selling Dr Pepper beyond the territory designated in its license agreement.

The suit also seeks to end the bottler's unauthorized use of the term "Dublin Dr Pepper" on product packaging and on other merchandise. DPS has asked a federal court to terminate its licensing agreement [image-nocss] with Dr Pepper Bottling Co. of Dublin, the world's oldest Dr Pepper bottler, and to prevent sales of the beverage on the bottler's website and via its toll-free number, in addition to asking for attorneys' fees.

Among other claims, Dr Pepper Bottling Co. of Dublin cites internal and external corporate documents that show what the bottler said are various inconsistent positions taken by DPS concerning promotion of Dublin Dr Pepper.

( Click here for previous CSP Daily News coverage.)

DPS's statement reads:

"Signed contracts matter, and we are disappointed that Dr Pepper Bottling Co. of Dublin, Texas, refuses to keep its promises and honor its agreement. We're not seeking money 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.'

"Dublin's conduct dilutes our trademark and creates confusion in the marketplace, because their product is no different than any other Dr Pepper made with cane sugar and sold by several other bottlers. In fact, Dublin's filing ignores the reality that almost all of the product they sell isn't even made in Dublin. It's made by Temple Bottling Co. of Temple, Texas, and is the same cane sugar-sweetened Dr Pepper that DPS sells in distinctive 8-ounce glass packaging throughout Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston and Waco.

"We tried to resolve these issues with Dublin without turning to the courts. We even offered alternative packaging that promotes their heritage and their use of cane sugar, but in a way that stays true to the famous Dr Pepper trademark. They not only refused this compromise but actually demanded money to honor their agreement, which left us no choice but to file suit.

"Whether you're the oldest bottler or the newest, the largest or the smallest, no bottler is bigger than the Dr Pepper brand or above the agreement it signed. Unfortunately, unlike the other 170-plus Dr Pepper bottlers, Dublin steadfastly refuses to live up to the contract they signed in 2009."

Dr Pepper Snapple Group is a leading producer of flavored beverages in North America and the Caribbean. In addition to its flagship Dr Pepper and Snapple brands, its portfolio includes Sunkist, 7UP, A&W, Canada Dry, Crush, Mott's, Squirt, Hawaiian Punch, Penafiel, Clamato, Schweppes, Venom Energy, Rose's and Mr & Mrs T mixers.