Category Archives: Distilled Spirits

April 28

Will Lee v. Tam End The TTB’s Censorship of Beer Wine and Spirits Labels Found Obscene or Indecent?

As the US awaits a verdict in Lee v. Tam – a trademark dispute challenging a section of the trademark act (15 U.S.C. 1052(a)) refusing trademark registration for marks that are deemed immoral or scandalous, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s implementation and application of those restrictions – it would benefit us to be […]

March 30

Online Wine Retailer Wins Case Against False Claims Assertions Over Failure to Collect Local Taxes For Sales

In a recent win for online wine retailers (not wineries selling direct), the Illinois appellate court has upheld the dismissal of an action against online wine retailer Winetasting.com alleging it violated Illinois’ False Claims Act (740 ILCS 175) in failing to collect and pay the local retailer’s occupation tax for the municipality where the wine […]

March 29

Example Agreements: Spirits Manufacturing Agreement (Licensing) – Contract Distilling With Enhanced “Flash” Aging

This recent dispute between a distiller and a company looking to contract manufacture a whiskey called Rattleback Rye has resulted in an opinion from a federal district court in South Carolina denying a motion to dismiss based on breach of contract grounds against both the company and its principals, but granting dismissal of claims for […]

March 15

Example Agreements: Licensing Your Brand To Create Chackies For Your Distributors and Customers

People love to wear branded stuff.  I accept this as a general truth.  The sooner you accept is as well and offer them the chance to promote your brand for you, the sooner you’ll be getting some free advertising.  They particularly like beer, spirits, and food brands (my awesome Chateauneuf Du Pape shirt notwithstanding).  That […]

March 10

Sapporo Wins “Not Made In Japan” Lawsuit – Havana Club and Red Stripe Opinions Are Gaining Steam as Precedent for Beer False Origin Lawsuits

“If I wanted American beer, I would have bought Budweiser” – that’s what the plaintiff in the recently dismissed class action against Sapporo told the New York Post back when they reported on her filing the lawsuit. The plaintiff in this suit went after Sapporo claiming that the packaging mislead consumers into believing the beer […]

February 28

Sazerac Sues Distiller Over Fireball Trade Dress – What Do You Think?

That picture pretty much sums up the gist of this complaint that Sazerac has filed against Caribbean Distillers (makers of Sonavavitch vodka (you’re reading that right)) for a product they are be planning on making… that’s right, it doesn’t exist yet.  But that’s not stopping the good folks who make Fireball from protecting their market […]

February 24

The Public’s View of “Double Barreled” May Decide Trademark Dispute Between Bourbon Makers

A recent trademark decision shows how important consumer survey evidence has become in trademark litigation concerning generic and descriptive marks. In an ongoing trademark dispute over the use of the term “double barreled” between Sazerac and Prichard’s, a federal court found that neither side had submitted the information necessary for it to rule – evidence of what […]

February 02

Use Tequila in Your Drink Name? You May Need to Use Another Name. U.S. Trademark Office Makes Tequila the Champagne of Agaves

Marie Gaytán’s “¡Tequila!: Distilling the Spirit of Mexico” is a grand exercise in contextualizing tequila historically, economically, and politically.  If you don’t start the book with an appreciation (and hankering) for tequila or mezcal as something that isn’t served with salt and lime, you will by the time you finish it.  The treatise renewed my […]