Category Archives: Vineyard

April 10

Arguing With the Trademark Office Over Wine? – La Finca Wine Trademark Decision Provides Interesting Lessons Regarding Acceptable Source Material

The TTAB (Trademark Trial and Appeal Board) recently affirmed the decision from the USPTO refusing to register the mark “La Finca” for wines on the basis that the vintner didn’t demonstrate that the brand had acquired distinctiveness since the translation of the term is “the estate” or “the farm” which is descriptive for wines.  You […]

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 21

Using A Photograph in Advertising or On Your Label? Better Make Sure You Have Rights From the Photographer AND the People In It. Natty Light Sued In Lawsuit Over Using Photograph From Social Media Contest.

Ensure that you get the proper releases if you’re using a photograph with human subjects.  Whether on your label or in your advertising – if you’ve gathered photographs from a festival or from fans through a social media campaign you need clearance.  That means a release from the artist – he photographer – as well […]

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 […]

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 […]

January 25

A Win for Rational Thought In Alcohol Advertising – 8th Circuit Asks District Court to Consider Whether There’s A Correlation Between Alcohol Advertising Regulations and Their Intended Objectives In Order to Satisfy First Amendment Scrutiny

It’s not just that some 20th Century laws are not equipped to handle 21st Century problems. (I read that in a Google ad a while back and still think it is a great statement.)  Its that since the time when many of the problems asserted in the alcohol industry were the subject of “tied-house” and […]