• Cassandra L. Wilkinson

Duck, Duck, Duck... Lawsuit


The A&E Channel is not the only one targeting the popular family behind Duck Dynasty. The Robertson family has found themselves in yet another controversy, this time it’s centered on a wine label. Duckhorn, a Napa Valley wine company, is pursuing a trademark infringement and unfair competition lawsuit against Trinchero Family Estates and its Duck Commander line of wines.
The Wines
From information stated in the complaint, Duckhorn is based in Napa Valley and has used the “Duckhorn” mark in connection with selling wines since 1980. Due to years of use, the “Duckhorn” mark and duck motifs have achieved a significant level of consumer recognition of its duck-related name and trade dress. The Duckhorn family of wines now includes Duckhorn Vineyards, Paraduxx, Goldeneye, Migration, and Decoy, and all of such feature a duck motif and sell for $50 and up per bottle. A Duckhorn label is shown here.
The Duck Commander brand comes from a partnership between Sutter Home Winery, Inc, d/b/a Trinchero and the Robertson family from the television show Duck Dynasty. The brand of wines includes Triple Threat Red Blend, Wood Duck Chardonnay, and Miss Priss Pink Moscato and all retail at $9.99 a bottle exclusively at Wal-Mart stores. A Duck Commander label is shown here.
The Lawsuit
In Duckhorn’s complaint they state that they are afraid that purchasers are likely to purchase Duck Commander wine believing it to be Duckhorn wine, or vice versa, and therefore cause consumer confusion and/or dilution of its mark. Citing to self-performed research, Duckhorn states that searches for “Duck Commander Wines” on several internet search engines returns results for Duckhorn wines. Further, the Duck Commander wines are also produced in Duckhorn’s hometown of St. Helena, in which Duckhorn believes could cause further potential confusion.
My Opinion
While Duckhorn has a valid basis for their concerns, it seems that with the two wines being sold in diverse markets, at different retailers and at different price points it will be difficult for Duckhorn to show that there is a likelihood of confusion between Duck Commander wines and their own. Stay tuned to see how the case unfolds!

#Trademarks #NewCaseLaw

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