Sazerac settles trademark spat over ‘double-barreled’

5th December, 2017 by Nicola Carruthers

Sazerac has reportedly settled a trademark dispute with a Tennessee distillery over the use of the term ‘double-barreled’ on its Bourbon brands.

Prichard’s sued Sazerac in light of the brand’s Buffalo Trace and A Smith Bowman brands

Prichard’s Distillery sued Sazerac – maker of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky – in August 2014 for using “double-barreled” on its whiskey labels, citing the company has been selling a “Double-Barreled Bourbon” for more than 10 years and owns two trademark registrations on the wording.

Prichard’s sued Sazerac in light of the distiller’s Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection Double Barrelled Bourbon and A Smith Bowman Limited Edition Double Barrel Bourbon Whiskey.

Prichard’s owns trademark registrations on Benjamin Prichard’s Double Barreled Bourbon and the phrase ‘Double-Barreled’ for selling spirits.

Sazerac defended its use of the term on labels, stating that it was protected by descriptive fair use.

“Sazerac uses the term ‘double-barreled’ to fairly and accurately describe the ageing process by which its Bourbon is crafted and not as an indicator of the source of the product,” the firm wrote.

Prichard’s uses a double-barrelled shotgun to promote the Bourbon, including an image of the gun on the goods.

Prichard’s Distillery trademarked the term ‘double-barreled’ on its spirits

According to WIPR, the complaint said that the company’s use of the trademarks “connotes attributes of toughness and strength associated with double-barrelled shotguns”.

“Upon information and belief, defendants chose to use the mark ‘double-barreled’ to create an association with Prichard’s distinctive brands,” said the suit.

Last Thursday (30 November), US District judge Bernard Friedman signed an order of dismissal, three years after the lawsuit.

Both parties reached a settlement agreement in August this year. Friedman has dismissed the complaint with prejudice and without costs or attorneys’ fees.

Sazerac declined to comment when approached by The Spirits Business. Prichard’s Distillery is yet to respond.

This is not the first time the US firm has been embroiled in a lawsuit, in April this year – Sazerac agreed to alter the packaging of its Dr. McGillicuddy’s Irish whiskey brand in an out-of-court settlement with Diageo, which accused the firm of infringing its Bulleit Bourbon trademark.

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