Dublin Dr Pepper Responds to Corporate HQ's Lawsuit With Quite the Legal History Lesson
It probably doesn't help Dr Pepper's case that CEO Larry Young went on KERA's CEO in '09 with a Dublin sixer and touted it as "the original Dr Pepper formula with the Imperial sugar in it" with an "unbelievable" following.
Back in June, you no doubt recall, Plano-based Dr Pepper/Seven Up Inc. decided, for whatever reason, to sue Dublin Dr Pepper, which makes the only soda worth drinking -- original-formula Imperial Pure Cane Sugar Dr Pepper. Corporate HQ claims in court docs that Dublin Dr Pepper, which ships all over the country and is widely available throughout Texas, is violating terms of a licensing agreement that confines its sale to just six counties: Comanche, Eastland, Erath, Hood, Hamilton and Bosque.
This, despite the fact that Dr Pepper officials have for years acknowledged publicly their love for Dublin Dr Pepper and even promoted it to curious customers by providing them with its website. Corporate's also called it a "a good partner" whose very existence only "fuels the passion of Dr Pepper fans." Then there's this episode of KERA's CEO from November 2009, in which Dr Pepper Snapple Group President and CEO Larry Young tells Lee Cullum, "There's nothing tastes better than a Dublin Dr Pepper when it is ice cold." And, why, there just so happens to be a six-pack of it right there.
All that and more is mentioned in Dublin Dr Pepper's response filed yesterday in federal court by none other than McKool Smith's Steve Wolens, the former state rep and quite the Dr Pepper historian, at least based upon the terrifically written and wonderfully illustrated filing that spills the history of Dublin Dr Pepper, from the time Charles Alderton invented the beverage in 1885 up till the moment Corporate HQ turned on the wellspring to the south.
For years, the response says, theirs was a close, symbiotic relationship. Until it wasn't. Says the doc that follows, when corporate began selling its cane-sugar anniversary Pepper products last year, it began ripping off the Dublin's designs long used for its cans -- and, of course, began using something close to the original recipe. Writes Wolens, that's when things changed:
In short, Corporate Dr Pepper has attempted to reap the benefit of Dublin Dr Pepper's hard work over the past several decades. More importantly, and given Corporate Dr Pepper's recent foray into making Dr Pepper with sugar (albeit a blended beet sugar), it is apparent that this suit was not brought to protect the public (who is not confused about anything Dublin Dr Pepper has done) or independent bottlers. Rather, it is likely that Corporate Dr Pepper simply wants to eliminate Dublin Dr Pepper from, or severally limit its ability to be in the market for Dr Pepper made with sugar, a market that Dublin Dr Pepper has created and maintained for the past several decades.
Wolens says Dublin hasn't broken any licensing agreement -- far from it. All this suit's about, he insists, is trying to drive a Texas institution out of business, which "is not in the public interest." So jump -- there's a lot to read on the other side, including not only the history of Dr Pepper but myriad letters (including notes of congratulations and even one of condolences sent in '46) and magazine articles and bottle designs -- enough to make you want a Dublin Dr Pepper. Right now.
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