PLANO, Texas (AP) -- Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. filed a lawsuit against one of its bottlers Tuesday over what it says are license agreement violations.
The beverage maker said Dr Pepper Bottling Co. of Dublin, Texas, is selling Dr Pepper beyond the six-county territory allowed under its license agreement. It also claims the company is wrongfully selling soda with "Dublin Dr Pepper" labeling on packaging and other merchandise.
The bottler, according to the company, is marketing a version of Dr Pepper made with cane sugar as "Dublin Dr Pepper." It is one of several bottlers authorized to make the drink with cane sugar, but it is not allowed to modify the name and logo as such on the labeling, according to the agreement.
"In the simplest terms, the bottler in Dublin is using a logo that is no longer authorized and is taking business from fellow Dr Pepper bottlers who play by the rules and sell within their defined territories," said Jim Johnston, president of beverage concentrates for DPS. "We owe it to our other bottlers to stop these unauthorized practices."
The company's subsidiary, Dr Pepper/Seven Up Inc., filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas. Dr Pepper is not currently seeking financial damages with the lawsuit, but is asking the court to require Dr Pepper Bottling Co. of Dublin to honor the terms of its license agreement or forfeit its license.
Dublin Dr Pepper, which is the oldest bottler of Dr Pepper in the world, said it was surprised by the lawsuit but confident that its corporate partner will not succeed in its efforts.
"It is unfortunate that Dr Pepper Snapple's attorneys are asking our overburdened court system to resolve what we believe is a business matter, but we look forward to telling our side of the story before a judge and jury, and we will continue to provide great products and great service to every one of our customers," the company said in a statement.
DPS owns the Dr Pepper brand and through its subsidiaries licenses it to more than 170 bottlers across the U.S. and Canada.
Dr Pepper Snapple shares rose 23 cents to close at $40.78.