Rise and Sunshine Corp., dba Rise Brewing Co., has filed a lawsuit against PepsiCo Inc. for willful trademark infringement. The lawsuit was filed this week in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois – Eastern Division.
The five-count complaint alleges that PepsiCo has infringed on Rise Brewing's trademark when it introduced a new canned morning caffeine drink that uses an identical product name, RISE. The complaint alleges PepsiCo's use of the RISE mark on its new product has caused, and will continue to cause, consumers to be confused about the source of the parties' respective products.
PepsiCo's RISE, part of the Mountain Dew product line, launched in March 2021 and, according to the complaint, targets Rise Brewing's core demographic, morning caffeine drinkers. Focusing on the athletic and wellness communities, PepsiCo hired international superstar LeBron James to be the spokesperson for this new product.
PepsiCo has not yet issued a comment about the allegations.
The Purchase, NY-based beverage giant announced its partnership with NBA superstar LeBron James to launch Mtn Dew Rise Energy in March. The energy drink was described as being formulated to provide “citicoline and caffeine for a mental boost and zinc to help with immune support to conquer the morning.”
Rise Brewing was founded in New York City by childhood friends Jarett McGovern, Grant Gyesky and Justin Weinstein, along with Hudson Gaines-Ross. The four founders created a shelf-stable canned coffee beverage using all organic ingredients and targeting morning caffeine drinkers.
After nearly a decade of innovation and brand development, according to a press release, Rise Brewing has become a marketplace success, obtaining numerous awards for its products and becoming the owner of numerous federally registered RISE trademarks that protect its brand.