Tequila marketer Patron Spirits International has sued The Reindeer Group Ltd. its former digital agency, alleging the shop is violating trademark law by continuing to promote Patron as a client on its website, even though the relationship was terminated in early 2014. Patron also alleges that the agency, called Reindeer, overbilled the marketer by at least $81,000. Agencies routinely display client work on their websites. But the Patron lawsuit raises questions about what rights agencies have to promote client work, especially if the two parties no longer have a relationship. The lawsuit was recently filed in federal court in Texas.
Moreover, Reindeer’s use of PSI’s marks falsely suggests a connection between the two brands, which allows Reindeer to reap the benefits of the highly valuable Patrón name and all of the associated goodwill, but without PSI’s permission. On its site, Reindeer describes itself as Patron’s “agency of record for all digital creative, social and media planning” for the U.S. and U.K. The site includes a screen shot of Patronsocialclub.com, which Reindeer says it worked on. In its suit, Patron alleges that the use of such materials amounts to trademark infringement. The site “falsely suggests a connection” between Patron and Reindeer, “which allows Reindeer to reap the benefits of the highly valuable Patron name and all the associated goodwill, but without