PropertyProf Blog

Editor: Stephen Clowney
Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Monday, May 21, 2012

UPDATE: Marker's Mark Seal Deserves Trademark Protection

MmLast 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.

Steve Clowney

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