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 […]

McDonald’s Again Accused of Failing to Obtain Clearance Over Street Art in Advertising

Apparently the Dashielle Snow fight over McDonald’s allegedly using his work without permission as part of the interior decor for their restaurants wasn’t enough to get McDonald’s to up its copyright/permissions clearance game as now, new allegations of improper co-opting for commercial purposes have been made by some New York street artists.  Artnet news reports […]

Inflating Your Products’ Online Reviews Could Subject You to Suits For False Advertising and Unfair Competition

A good lesson in considering the method by which you garner online reviews and some valuable guidance for companies in conducting their online activities. This decision from a federal court in Utah in a Lanham Act suit between two vitamin companies provides a decent roadmap for how not to garner increased positive online reviews and […]

Millercoors Wins “Not From Australia” Lawsuit Over Claims That Foster’s Marketing Misleads Drinkers

In one of latest wins for brewers against deceptive labeling lawsuits brought against domestically made beers over branding that arguably conveys they are imported, Millercoors has scored a win for its Foster’s brand against a putative class action looking to cash in against the company.  The lawsuit (you can read the amended complaint here) alleged that […]

Kerrygold Wins TRO Against Irishgold Competitor To Stop Wisconsin Sales

The Wisconsin story of Kerrygold butter churns on as Wisconsinites may be forestalled for a little longer in achieving Irish butter satisfaction.  Last week Ornua Foods, which controls the rights to the Kerrygold brand in the U.S. brought an action against the Wisconsin-based Old World Creamery, alleging it had been in discussions with Old World […]

North Carolina Proposes Some Common-Sense Amendments to Modernize Its Brewing Laws That Advance Rights for Craft Brewers In the Face of Changing Times

Jim Koch (of Boston Beer fame) wrote an excellent polemic for the New York Times last week questioning some American attitudes towards beer.  A salient point from that article was that many state distribution laws developed over time from the end of prohibition and haven’t been updated since the 1970’s.  These distribution statutes were created […]

Food Safety Modernization Act Sanitary Transportation Waivers Issued for Restaurants and Grocery Stores That Deliver, and Inspected Milk and Mollusk Shipments

About a year ago the FDA issued the Food Safety Modernization Act Final Rule on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food.  The rule governs the activities of all shippers, loaders, carries (motor vehicle and rail (no boats, no planes)) and receivers engaged in the transportation of food (including animal food).  Unlike many government regulations, […]

Menu Labeling Standards In Crosshairs As Applied to Convenience and Grocery Stores As May 5 Compliance Deadline Looms

Given the new administration’s take on excessive regulation and its distaste for the Affordable Care Act, it was only a matter of time before some of the newer menu labeling standards came under fire.  The mandatory calorie disclosures set to take effect under these rules on May 5, 2017, are a sore spot for retailers […]

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 […]

Havana Club Dispute Back In The Spotlight After Congressional Reps Ask For Administration To Undo Predecessor’s Ruling

The latest turn in a decades long fight over control of the Havana Club trademark for rum came from the Capitol this week.  Congressional leaders from Florida (home of Bacardi’s U.S. headquarters) have sent a letter to the new administration asking for the repeal of an Obama administration decision to allow Cubaexport, the Cuban company […]

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 […]

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 […]