Wisconsin SC finds “good cause” isn’t required to terminate wine distribution agreements

The Governor of Wisconsin has a partial veto power that comes from the state constitution which allows for striking portions of bills to create entirely new (and even contrary) legislation from a bill that’s presented. (Wisconsin Cons. Article V, Section 10). Apparently this power was used to such effect that in 1990 the State Constitution […]

Goose Island scores win in action over refunds for “off” Bourbon County from 2015

Goose Island recently scored a win in Federal District Court Massachusetts where it achieved the dismissal of a class action brought by two Bourbon County Brand Stout purchasers who bought BCBS and variants from the 2015 year that was part of the bad batch fiasco for which Goose Island instituted a refund program. Those looking […]

What’s the difference between good parody and bad? – A defensible legal position.

The recent kerfuffle between Knee Deep Brewing Co., and Sony Pictures Television over Knee Deep’s use of Breaking Bad (trademarked by Sony) iconography and imagery for their Breaking Bud IPA provides an opportunity for a good reminder about the defense of parody to trademark infringement. When done right, this time-honored, and statutorily codified defense to […]

A new ally in the fight against counterfeit wine – the online retailer Alibaba

In early 2015, Wine Spectator questioned how serious the Chinese government was at addressing the problem of counterfeit wines and pointed to Alibaba’s site as a major culprit in promoting the sale of counterfeit bottles. A clever solution implemented by producers and brokers back then was the award of exclusive distribution rights within the country.  […]

Dissent In Texas Three-Tier Case Contains Powerful Indictment Of Strict Enforcement Of Cross-Tier Ownership

As you all probably have heard, in Cadena Commercial v. Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the Texas Supreme Court recently weighed in on the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s decision to deny a license for retail sales to a group of convenience stores that wanted to sell alcohol because through a chain of ownership, one of the […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]