McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP partners Jeremy Noe and Sydney Kokjohn authored an article entitled, “Trademark Functionality Tips From The Beverage Industry” that appears in the September 12, 2013 online edition of IP Law360.com. Diageo PLC, the world’s largest producer of spirits, has recently found itself in several significant trademark disputes regarding a number of the company’s spirit lines. In a case decided in May 2012, Maker’s Mark brought suit against Diageo regarding use of the dripping red wax seal made famous by Maker’s Mark. In a case decided in March 2013 American Beverage Corporation brought suit against Diageo over use of flexible foil pouches to deliver frozen cocktail products. And in an ongoing case, Diageo brought suit against Mexcor alleging infringement of some of the company’s Crown Royal marks. This article discusses the outcome of the Maker’s Mark and American Beverage cases, and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments asserted in the yet-to-be-decided Mexcor case.
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Note: this article originally appeared in the MBHB Summer 2013 edition of snippets publication.