Category Archives: Winemaking

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 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 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 […]

January 20

Oral Argument Video of Challenge to Alcohol Advertising Tied-House Regulations at 9th Circuit

As we said we would yesterday, here is the video of the oral argument that happened yesterday in Retail Digital Network, LLC, v. Director of Alcoholic Control Board, Applesmith (link is to our post from yesterday describing the case and why it is important to advertisers and brewers, vintners, and distillers.

January 19

Tied-House Challenge To Allow Alcohol Advertising Payments to Retailers Has Oral Argument In Front of En Banc 9th Circuit – Here’s a Live Link!

Officially, you can view 9th Circuit oral arguments here the day after they occur.  But that’s really not good enough, is it.  So here is a Youtube Link to be able to watch the Courtroom Session as it occurs.  The arguments are set for 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time today. In case you’ve had your head […]

January 18

Is it really a “tied-house” if your alcoholic beverage category isn’t sold by the retailer?

In a recent and interesting challenge to the three-tiered system’s prohibition on “tied-houses” a winery owner looking to maintain an interest in some Iowa convenience stores made an interesting argument:  since the convenience stores only sold beer and not wine, the mutual ownership didn’t violate the Iowa prohibition on tied-houses. Iowa, like most states has […]