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Heaven Hill sues Bob Dylan’s Bourbon brand

Bourbon producer Heaven Hill has filed a lawsuit against Bob Dylan’s American whiskey brand Heaven’s Door for trademark infringement.

Bob Dylan launched the Heaven’s Door American whiskey range in April

The lawsuit filed last week by Heaven Hill Distilleries at the US District Court, Western District of Kentucky, is for infringement of the trade name ‘Heaven Hill’.

Both Heaven Hill and Heaven’s Door Spirits sell and market American whiskey under the mark ‘Heaven’.

The Heaven’s Door range was launched by singer-songwriter Bob Dylan in April this year, in collaboration with Angel’s Envy Bourbon founder Marc Bushala.

On 25 April 2018, Heaven Hill sent a cease-and-desist letter to Heaven’s Door objecting to the use of the infringing mark.

Heaven Hill argues that the mark adopted by Heaven’s Door is “confusingly similar” to Heaven Hill as they both share the word ‘Heaven’.

The drinks group also states that it shares an “essentially identical” first element, with the word ‘Heaven’ followed by a single-syllable four-letter word.

Heaven’s Door spirits are also sold in Louisville, Kentucky, where Heaven Hill was founded and has distilled whiskey since 1937.

In the last five years, Heaven Hill has spent US$7,500,000 on marketing and promotion for its spirits. During that period, Heaven Hill has sold more than 830,000 nine-litre equivalent cases of Heaven Hill-branded whiskeys, and has sold more than 3.7 million nine-litre cases of Heaven Hill-branded distilled spirits.

As a result of this spend, the Bardstown-based producer says it has “acquired incalculable distinction, reputation and goodwill belonging exclusively to Heaven Hill”.

Heaven Hill believes that the defendant’s products are likely to cause customers to believe that they are sold, authorised or sponsored by Heaven Hill.

The group added that the defendant’s use of the mark “will continue to cause damage and immediate irreparable harm” to Heaven Hill and its reputation.

Heaven Hill is seeking injunctive and monetary relief.

A spokesperson for Heaven’s Door Spirits said: “Heaven’s Door Spirits finds the allegations to be completely without merit and intends to vigorously defend itself and its Heaven’s Door brand.”

Heaven Hill refused to comment on the case when contacted by The Spirits Business.

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