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Lawsuit claims only one Utah company has right to sell ‘dirty’ sodas

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Posted at 9:43 PM, Sep 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-17 09:26:18-04

By Dora Scheidell

SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah soda war is fizzing up.

The specialty soda franchise, Swig, filed a lawsuit in April against Sodalicious, claiming trademark infringement.

Swig CEO Justen Ericksen claims Sodalicious copied numerous things about his business, from the use of the word "dirty" to describe flavored sodas to their pricing structure.

“We just want them to stop using our trademark: It’s our brand,” Ericksen said.

However, in the lawsuit of Swig v. Sodalicious, one side refuses to play dirty. Sodalicious owner Annie Auernig says they’re focusing all their energy on their business.

“We've never engaged in a battle or a war or wanted it to be anything other than allowing people to make their own decisions,” Auernig said.

Instead, Sodalicious is letting its customers do the fighting for them. The war is spilling out onto social media, with loyal Sodalicious lovers coming to the company’s defense on Twitter. 

“I would be surprised, but if you think of our demographic it is primarily women, mothers who are really devoted to their caffeine and their sugar,” Auernig said.

Ericksen said they tried other avenues of recourse before pursuing legal action.

“Several months of saying, 'Please stop using dirty. If you stop using dirty, this will go away' and they refused,” Ericksen said.

Swig says they were granted the "dirty" trademark by the US Patent and Trademark Office. They say they asked Sodalicous to stop using the word "dirty" last November, and, when they refused, they said they had no choice but to file a lawsuit, which is currently in the very beginning stages.

They may be in the sugar business, but there’s nothing sweet about this ongoing competition.