Artisan Spirit: Spring 2016

Page 30

exclude from your trademark registration their market area, or negotiate some form of co-existence. Provided your mark has passed the clearance process, it is in your best interest to begin using your trademark in U.S. commerce to start establishing your common law rights while you consider, and ideally pursue, federal registration.


Captivating capsules Riveting labels

Not only word marks enjoy trademark protection. To build a robust trademark portfolio, also consider protecting logos and designs, which may consist of a symbol (e.g., the BACARDI bat), a combination of words and designs, or words presented in a stylized font (e.g., ABSOLUT in its signature block lettering). Slogans and taglines are also protectable designations of source, for example, “IT’S MILLER TIME,” “JUST DO IT,” “TASTE THE RAINBOW,” and “THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH.” Spirits trademarks can consist of various elements on a bottle label, including the name of the product, name of the distillery, logos, and design elements (e.g., a shield or crest, decorative banners, a background pattern, etc.). They might also include the combination of all of those elements and how they are presented on the label or configured on the bottle. You can also explore protecting the shape or color of your bottle if it is unique and does not serve a functional purpose. Trademarks come in many forms. Being aware of, and obtaining protection for, the various trademarkable elements of your business will increase your company’s valuable intellectual property assets and put you in a stronger position to enforce your marks against unauthorized third party users.



The growing number of small distillers highlights the desirability of joining a collegial and creative industry. By understanding some basics about trademark selection and protection, you can build your business upon a solid foundation and focus on expanding your empire rather than defending against attacks. Marc E. Sorini is a partner in the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP, based in the firm's Washington, D.C. office. He is the leader of the Firm’s Alcohol Regulatory & Distribution Group. Recognized as one of the leading lawyers in his field by Best Lawyers and the Chambers USA directory, he advises breweries, distilleries, wineries and importers on regulatory, litigation, licensing, distribution, advertising, product formulation, and taxation issues.

Ramondin USA Napa CA 707.944.2277 SAMPLES



Metal labels by Apholos – distributed in Nor th America by Ramondin USA


Bess Morgan is an associate in the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP and is based in the firm’s Los Angeles office. She focuses her practice on trademark prosecution, counseling, licensing and dispute matters. Bess advises clients on the selection and adoption of new trademarks, renders opinions on the availability and proper use of trademarks, and assists in the enforcement and protection of clients’ trademark portfolios. Bess also advises clients on a variety of other intellectual property transactional matters including: copyright and right of publicity clearance, protection and licensing; contests, sweepstakes and raffles; recovery of domain names through UDRP actions; licensing and distribution agreements; compliance with advertising and marketing regulations; and IP due diligence and counseling in connection with corporate transactions such as mergers and acquisitions. WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM