Monday, May 21, 2012
Last week the Sixth Circuit held that the producers of Maker's Mark bourbon can stop rival distilleries from using red wax seals on their bottles. Writing for a unanimous panel, Judge Boyce Martin (of Louisville) ruled that Maker's Mark has an "extremely strong" trademark deserving protection. The opinion provides a thorough history of bourbon and a good intorduction to the concept of trade dress. Here's one of many fun facts:
The legend of the birth of bourbon is not without controversy: “As many counties of Kentucky claim the first production of Bourbon as Greek cities quarrel over the birthplace of Homer.” The generally accepted and oft-repeated story is that “the first Bourbon whiskey… made from a mash containing at least fifty percent corn, is usually credited to a Baptist minister, The Reverend Elijah Craig, in 1789, at Georgetown, [Kentucky],” just prior to Kentucky’s joining the Union as a state in 1792.