Sutter Home Wineries is one of the largest family-run independent wineries in the US. It became famous for its White Zinfandel wine that it released in 1972.
It has recently made a complaint to the US District Court with the Northern of California, alleging that a Tri-Vin Imports (a wholesaler and distributer of wine) has infringed its trade mark to sell a competitor’s wine.
The trade mark dispute centres around Sutter Home Winery’s trade mark ‘Napa Cellars’ registered in class 33 in relation to ‘[w]ines derived from grapes grown in Napa County’. Tri-Vin Imports distributes wines from across the world and produces its own wine under the brand Clos de Nappa Cellars wine.
Sutter Home Winery has accused Tri-Vin Imports of advertising its brand of wine to other wineries using their trade mark. Sutter Home Winery has stated in its complaint, that the use of its trade mark not only caused confusion, but it meant that Tri-Vin was benefiting from its reputation causing an unfair commercial advantage. As evidence, Sutter Home Winery stated that it had received a call from one of its distributers requesting for the Clos de Napa Cellars wine.
Sutter Home Winery believes that the infringement of its trade mark by Tri-Vin Import is deliberate and it will likely want this to be reflected in the damages that are awarded at court (if this matter is not settled privately between the parties).
By Fatima Amedu