Category Archives: Trademark

March 16

This Spuds Not For You – Anheuser Gets Sued By Putative Owner of Spuds MacKenzie Claiming Anheuser Abandoned Spuds MacKenzie

You read that right.  They created him, they used him, and now, they may have waited too long in between uses to be able to claim they have the rights to him.  This lawsuit (link to complaint), filed yesterday in the Southern District of New York by Spuds Ventures. The lawsuit alleges that the recent […]

March 08

Use a Foreign Word In Your Beverage Name? Better Make Sure It’s English Equivalent Isn’t Already Trademarked and Vice Versa

If a = b, then b = a.  In math, it’s called the “symmetric property of equality.”  There’s a similar principle in trademark law called the “doctrine of equivalents.”  Foreign words have protection from their english equivalents, and english words have protection from their foreign equivalents.  It applies to words from “common, modern languages.”  Italian […]

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 […]

January 04

Court Issues Instructive Trademark Decision as Brooklyn Brewery Wins Injunction Against Black Ops Brewing Over “Black Ops” Trademark Row

Not every beverage you make will become a brand in itself.  Often, nothing you make will become more famous than your company name.  But for some reason stouts aged in bourbon barrels are notorious for having their names get the shorthand treatment and become famous – Bourbon County, Dark Lord, Dragon’s Milk, even to initials […]

December 23

More Famous Than Your Lawyers? Why Are You Letting Them Put Your Brand on Their Website Without Compensation?

Do your vendors advertise that they work with you?  How about vendors you haven’t worked with in over a years? Chances are it’s a much greater boon to them (which is, of course, why they want your logo on their website) than it is to you. Your lawyers, accountants, advertising agencies and other vendors use […]

December 20

Diageo Sues Sazerac over Bulleit Bourbon Trade Dress – What Do You Think?

Well, what do you think based on that picture above? It is from this complaint filed last Friday in the Southern District of New York by Diageo North America against Sazerac alleging that Sazerac’s Dr. McGillicuddy’s bottles infringe on the trade dress of Bulleit bottles and dilute that trademark protection. The complaint asks for injunctive […]