Several wineries in the Commonwealth of Virginia are not federally registering their wine brands as trademarks. We compared the number of wineries in all 50 states (and the District of Columbia) to the number of federal wine trademark applications/registrations, and here are the results. As you will see, while Virginia comes in eighth place among all states regarding the total number of wineries (360 wineries according to TTB), Virginia wineries are in tradethe bottom half of all states (28th place) when it comes to federal trademark applications and registrations per winery (409 applications/registrations, or just above 1 trademark application/registration per winery). This rate drops to about 7 applications/registrations per 10 wineries when you add in pending winery licensees (573, according to Virginia ABC). This rate would be even lower if we considered the almost certainty that some...Continue Reading Leave a Comment
A Surprisingly High Number of Virginia Wineries Are Not Registering their Trademarks
Branding Your Marijuana Business
One of the predominant ways businesses protect their brands is through Federal trademark registration at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In order to federally register a trademark, the trademark must be used in interstate commerce—lawfully. Because marijuana is federally illegal, it is impossible for a marijuana business to lawfully use a trademark in connection with marijuana and/or marijuana-specific goods and services in interstate commerce. Since Federal trademark registration is not an option, marijuana businesses need to get creative in how they protect their brands. Here are some alternative options for how a marijuana business can protect its brands.
Obtaining Federal Registration for Analogous Goods and Services
One tactic marijuana businesses have used to try and protect their brands is to obtain federal trademark registration for goods and services analogous to marijuana goods and services....Continue Reading Leave a Comment
Johnny Love Vodka Wins "Sexy Lips" Trademark Appeal Against Jim Beam
Johnny Love Beverage Company LLC (“JL”) and Jim Beam Brands Co. (“Beam”) are fighting over the right to use “sexy lips” imagery on flavored vodkas. JL’s logo (the subject of U.S. trademark registration no. 4,044,182; shown below left) dates back to 2005, and is described by Johnny Love’s creator and namesake Johnny Metheny as “definitely sexy.” Metheny apparently felt the same way about Beam’s new logo, adopted in 2011, (shown below right), and sued Beam in federal district court for trademark infringement, false designation of origin, and unfair competition.
After filing suit, JL promptly moved for preliminary injunctive relief, essentially requesting that the court order Beam to stop selling products with Beam’s new logo during the pendency of the trial. Beam cross moved for summary judgment. The district court denied JL’s motion, and, in a surprise move, sustained...Continue Reading Leave a Comment
Trademarks All Over the Atlas
A few months ago, big law firm Foley Hoag compiled a marvelous list of trademark scuffles, within the alcohol beverage category, during the past year. We already knew there were scores of tussles, and the list was growing ever longer, but we never quite realized how fast the casualties are stacking up. The article shows at least 50 such disputes.
Of all those, the Atlas dispute is the one that caught my eye. Because it’s local, must be crushing news for whoever lost, recent, and I had not heard about it but for the Foley article. Foley explained:
The Atlas Brewing Company of Chicago opposed Atlas Brew Works’ application to register ATLAS for beer. The Opposer alleged that “Atlas” was primarily descriptive of a geographic area within Washington D.C., which is where...Continue Reading Leave a Comment
At USBevX a few days ago I heard lots of questions about various wines aged in Bourbon barrels. But I did not hear lots of answers so I thought I would take a look and see what’s going on. This Fetzer example, above, seems like a good place to start.
It tends to show that it is okay to mention Bourbon on a vintage- and varietal-designated wine. I am a little surprised I don’t see any reference to a formula approval, or to the amount of aging in said barrel. This Fetzer label is also noteworthy because it quickly drew the ire of the big Buffalo, as in Buffalo Trace; Sazerac charged at Fetzer for attempting to graze on land staked out long ago by the whiskey company. This really good article...Continue Reading Leave a Comment
Don’t Be Fooled by Trademark Spam!
About five to ten times per year, we get a call from a client asking why the USPTO sent them an invoice for hundreds of dollars for their trademark applications. After a few minutes, it becomes clear what they are talking about—trademark spam.
Trademark spam? Trademark spam is an unavoidable and unfortunate result of the information an applicant provides the USPTO in an application, which is publically available. This includes, among other information, the name, address, and email of the party applying for the mark. As a result, spammers have all of the information they need to send fake trademark solicitations that appear to be legitimate. The USPTO is fully aware of trademark spam, but despite its efforts, applicants and registrants continue to be victimized by spammers.
What does trademark spam look like? Trademark spam generally comes in...Continue Reading Leave a Comment