Trademark

by Timothy Geigner


Filed Under:
trademark, wine, ziggy

Companies:
40 knots windery, loblaw



British Columbia Winery Has Trademark Opposed By Pre-Packaged Foods Company For Some Reason

from the wine-isn't-food dept

I have personally made something of a crusade as of late out of my position that the world's trademark offices need to be more nuanced when it comes to the alcohol industry. Far too many disputes have arisen recently between beer breweries, wineries, and spirit-makers, when anyone with a base understanding of those industries realizes how separate they actually are, rendering the potential for customer confusion a moot argument. To the layperson less familiar with both the purpose and nuanced aspects of trademark law, however, this position can require some convincing.

That shouldn't be the case for a recent dispute between a winery and a pre-packaged foods maker, however, because this dispute is between two completely different marketplaces.

The 40 Knots Winery in Comox, B.C., first applied to trademark Ziggy — named both for the German grapes from which it's made and for the family's whippet dog — in March 2015. The trademark was approved by the Canadian Intellectual Property Office in December 2015, and 40 Knots started rolling out its advertising campaign soon after.

But late last year, Loblaw Inc. officially opposed the trademark, noting that Ziggy's is the brand name of several Loblaw products, most notably deli meats and prepackaged meals, since 1971.

Herman-Craig goes on to note the time and capital she spent in naming and branding her winery. A Loblaw spokesperson, meanwhile, trotted out every protectionist's favorite excuse for these types of overbearing actions, claiming that the company had no choice but to oppose the trademark if there was a chance of customer confusion.

But that's not true, as is so often the case. Wine and pre-packaged foods operate in different marketplaces, even if they are both sold in actual food markets. Customers, for one, are unlikely to be confused by the packaging of the other due to the shared name, particularly given that the trade dress of these two companies are otherwise vastly distinct. It seems that Herman-Craig actually did everything right when naming her winery, including researching the name to make sure her actual competition wasn't already using it.

"We researched to make sure nobody was using Ziggy as a wine," she said. "And for trademarks, you trademark your product that you're manufacturing and selling."

She said her lawyer is confident 40 Knots has a solid case, and she plans to fight the supermarket giant for the rights to the name.

In that case, here's hoping the courts can knock this softball out of the park, because it's pretty obvious that there is little if any chance of confusion between a winery and a packaged food maker.


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2017 @ 4:21pm

    Prove that they are trying to mislead people

    Like copywrong, trademarks are a form of thought crime that is being deeply abused and should be abolished completely, prove in court that people are being mislead, the tradeoff of those that are harmed buy illegitimate use of a mark is greatly out weighed by the abuse buy huge corporations that appears to be increasingly happening

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2017 @ 4:26pm

      Re: Prove that they are trying to mislead people

      Sorry to reply to myself but it should be noted that Ziggys makes a bunch of different stuff that is sold in many supermarkets in canada and with the recent decision to legalize alcohol sales in super markets there is the possibility or real confusion to to be honest it seem like the winery should be suing Ziggys for bringing disrepute on IT's brand, Blah~

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2017 @ 4:52pm

    >Loblaw Inc.

    Who's now being discussed on this law blog.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2017 @ 5:07pm

    "when it comes to the alcohol industry"

    Yup, and I suspect a compulsive link.

    "between beer breweries, wineries, and spirit-makers, when anyone with a base understanding of those industries realizes how separate they actually are, rendering the potential for customer confusion a moot argument"

    I don't think that's at all true. If I saw Moet-et-Chandon beer brand, I'd think it related to the champagne. But maybe it'd be the champagne of French bottled beer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonmylous, 21 Apr 2017 @ 5:09pm

    Streisand Lawsuit effect

    In other news, today saw Tom Wilson Jr and Universal Press Syndicate file a lawsuit against Lowblaw Inc in Kansas City to protect their trademark. They note that they had to protect their trademarks in the Ziggy name and image or risk losing them, even though they are a publisher of a cartoon strips and not actually in the food industry. When questioned more closely about this their lawyers replied "Well, we licence our trademark to manufacturers of candy and other perishable goods, so we're already in the space, and we filed ours back in 1967, so we were here first."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Apr 2017 @ 2:47am

    >"We researched to make sure nobody was using Ziggy as a wine," she said. "And for trademarks, you trademark your product that you're manufacturing and selling."

    Isn't the idea of trademark that of identifying who made the product, rather than the product itself? That way a trademark helps guide buying decision with regard to other products from the same manufacturer.

    Like all IP, those who would control markets keep on expanding its range so that they can exert greater control over markets.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.