SALT LAKE CITY — In an increasingly dirty legal battle between dueling soda shops, Swig now names the owners and officers of its rival company, Sodalicious, as individual defendants in a federal lawsuit.

The trademark lawsuit filed more than a year ago by St. George-based Swig Holdings LLC claims Provo's Sodalicious Inc. has profited by being "a near exact knockoff" of the popular drink destination, which offers soda made "dirty" with flavor shots and add-ins.

In an amended complaint filed this week, Swig added its rival's five co-owners as defendants in the case, alleging they "have personally participated in and directed Sodalicious' infringing activity."

The lawsuit goes on to say the co-owners are individually culpable for the financial damage and loss of goodwill that Swig claims to have experienced as its competitor has profited from allegedly adopting its business model, appearance and innovative menu.

"On information and belief, the individual (owners) are also personally and vicariously liable with Sodalicious because they were the moving force behind Sodalicious' infringement. As Sodalicious' sole officers, directors and owners, they authorized and approved that infringing activity," the lawsuit claims.

Both stores have multiple shops in Utah, with many of Swig's soon-to-be 11 locations dotting the Wasatch Front, while Sodalicious' six Utah stores are in Utah County. Sodalicious has two additional locations in Arizona.

Sandy resident Jamie Brewis and her son pulled up to Swig's Draper store Friday afternoon for their regular Swig run hoping to go through the drive-thu, but the endless line of SUVs forced the two to head inside the soda shop.

At the counter, Brewis and her son picked their usual favorites off the brightly colored menu: a peanut butter cookie for her son and a "dirty" drink to share.

Swig fills the "sweet niche" in Utah because "everyone loves soda," Brewis said.

A faithful Swig customer who had never heard of Sodalicious or the lawsuit, Brewis said she wishes she would've gotten in on the idea of the Utah-friendly soda business.

"Somebody came up with a really good idea coming up with this because you fill your little soda void and your sweet tooth," Brewis said. "It's all one place."

Since September 2014, Swig Holdings has held the trademark on the term "dirty" referring to concentrates, syrups or powders for mixing into different drinks. The company has been using the "dirty" designation since 2010, the trademark confirms.

The shop's signature offerings are its Dirty Coke, Dirty Diet Coke and Dirty Dr Pepper, according to court documents.

"Long after" that, Sodalicious opened for business, calling their drinks "dirty" as well, the lawsuit claims.

Swig alleges that Sodalicious has emulated not just its "dirty" sodas, but in using similar colors and oval shapes of its signs, bubble designs on its menu boards, use of large styrofoam cups and oversized colorful straws, and in calling its dessert offerings "treats."

The lawsuit claims Sodalicious also offers a product similar to the signature Swig Cookie, a semi-frozen sugar cookie served with room-temperature pink frosting.

News of the lawsuit last year sparked a social media war as customers aligned themselves as either #TeamSwig or #TeamSodalicious, an online conversation that continues sporadically today.

Pleasant Grove resident Bobbi Blake said she brings her family to Swig's rival Sodalicious nearly three times a week. Her eighth-grade daughter, Brittany, says she likes Sodalicious because "it's just yummy." She called the shop a preferred "hangout" for her junior high friends.

While Blake said she didn't know or care much about the lawsuit and generally chooses Sodalicious over Swig out of convenience, she has always believed that Swig came first.

However, 16-year-old Hope Broman of Draper calls herself a "die-hard Swig addict" who refuses to go to Sodalicious. Broman said she comes to Swig at least twice a week to get her "dirty Dr Pepper."

"The drinks are just so good," she said. "It's different than other places, too. You don't really find it anywhere else."

Swig is seeking unspecified financial remuneration in the case, including attorney's fees, punitive damages and an award to be assessed based on how much their competitor may have benefitted from customers who believed they were purchasing Swig products.

"Swig is informed and believes that (Sodalicious') use of the same combined elements as Swig is not accidental. To the contrary, Swig is informed and believes the defendants are infringing Swig's marks and trade dress, and indeed have copied Swig's entire business in order to confuse consumers, to trade on Swig's goodwill, and to gain business at the expense of Swig," the lawsuit claims. "(Sodalicious') conduct and the resulting consumer confusion has resulted in lost sales and damage to Swig's goodwill and reputation."

A jury trial in the lawsuit is scheduled for August 2017.


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