According to San Francisco Weekly, the popular and controversial A&E show, Duck Dynasty, has stamped its brand on a host of consumer items, from camouflage Segways to a family Christmas album, “Duck the Halls.” Recently, the Duck Dynasty brand has collaborated with the St. Helena-based Trinchero Family Estates on the Duck Commander wine series featuring a Chardonnay, Red Blend, and Pink Moscato. The wines are sold at Walmart for $9.99.
Another vineyard in St. Helena, Duckhorn Vineyards, is suing Trinchero Family Estates, Duck Commander and Walmart for trademark infringement and unfair competition. Duckhorn has been a staple of the Napa Valley wine business for over 30 years. Duckhorn Vineyards’ wine is much more expensive than the Duck Commander varieties and they fear that their regular customers will mistakenly purchase Duck Commander. The lawsuit is necessary to “prevent further confusion, dilatation and reputational and other harm to Duckhorn,” according to the complaint.
Representatives of Duckhorn repeatedly tried to contact Trinchero Family Estates and Duck Commander with “several simple compromises that allowed for both brands to coexist in a way that would eliminate the possibility of any marketplace confusion on wine lists or on retail shelves.” Furthermore, “many key U.S. retailers shelve wines alphabetically,” which would result in Duckhorn and Duck Commander bottles placed side by side. Consumers, unfamiliar with Duckhorn, would think Duckhorn wine to be of a similar caliber as Duck Commander. In addition, both wines are produced in “St. Helena (as indicated on [Duck Commander’s] bottle) causing further potential confusion,” according to the complaint.
Clearly, Duckhorn Vineyards spent over 30 years building the association of high quality St. Helena-produced wine and trademark image of the duck on the label. If another organization has adopted a derivative of your trademark image or title and is now capitalizing off the reputation that you worked to create, we can help. Our attorneys have over 25 years of intellectual property experience, aggressively defending the victims of trademark infringement. For more information or free legal advice, contact us. To schedule a confidential consultation with one of our copyright infringement lawyers, call us at (323) 653-3900 ext. 110.
[Did You Know: Core copyright industries contributed over $1 trillion to the U.S. GDP for the first time in 2012.]
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