‘Oldest’ Texas distillery wins trademark lawsuit
A Texas federal jury has ruled that the “first and oldest legal whiskey distillery in Texas”, Garrison Brothers, did not breach a competitor’s trademark by selling Bourbon with the word ‘cowboy’ in its name.
According to a report by Law360, Garrison Brothers – which trades under Lone Star Distillery, the defendant in the case – sells Cowboy Bourbon with no registered trademarks, while the complainant, Allied Lomar Inc., sells Cowboy Little Barrel Bourbon and whiskey under registered trademarks, which it applied for in February 2001 and registered in October 2003.
Photographs used in the suit show that Allied’s products displayed the word ‘Cowboy’ in a large font, with ‘Little Barrel’ in a smaller font below, and were bottles in “short, round glass containers”.
Lone Star’s product is contained in a “tall, wine-style glass container” with the words ‘Cowboy’ and ‘Bourbon’ in equal sizes.
The company claimed that Allied’s trademark was “never used on a product sold in the United States”, and was “not used on a product anywhere since 2005”.
The jury ruled that Garrison Brothers’ label “did not create a likelihood of confusion” with Allied’s, and also concluded that Allied had abandoned its trademark.
The trial took place on January 9 following a false start in December that ended in a mistrial due to “unpermitted testimony” after the first witness, Allied president Marci Palatella, had been called.
Before enlisting the jury, US District Judge Sam Sparks asked both parties to inform him of “any product released subsequent to the filing of this lawsuit to obtain a ruling on admissibility prior to any exposure of the same to the jury”.
According to Law360, Palatella told the jury “the case had just sold 5,000 cases. Because that sale took place after the lawsuit was filed, Judge Sparks said, a mistrial was the only response”.