The United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit today upheld a U.S. District Court ruling protecting the registered trademark for Maker’s Mark’s signature dripping red wax seal. The ruling is a decisive victory for Maker’s Mark (NYSE: BEAM) in a trademark dispute dating to 2003, and upholds an injunction prohibiting Jose Cuervo International, Inc., its affiliates and Cuervo’s United States distributor Diageo North America from the use of a dripping red wax seal on any Cuervo tequila product. The appeals court ruling also upheld the lower court’s ruling in awarding costs to Maker’s Mark for its pursuit of the injunction.
“This decision is a resounding affirmation that our unique dripping red wax seal is a trademark of Maker’s Mark and is off limits to competitors,” said Rob Samuels, chief operating officer of Maker’s Mark. “My grandmother dipped the first bottle of Maker’s Mark in red wax, and it’s been our signature trademark ever since. We’ve been confident in our position all along, and today’s outcome confirming that our unique trade dress cannot be infringed is great news for fans of Maker’s Mark, those who handcraft our bourbon, and those who individually dip each bottle every day.”
Today’s appeals court ruling upheld an April 2, 2010 opinion by Federal Judge John G. Heyburn II of the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. Maker’s Mark was represented in this litigation by a team from the law firm of Kenyon & Kenyon of Washington, D.C. led by Edward T. Colbert.