Trademarks serve an invaluable purpose for content creators, business owners and anyone with an original product to protect from would-be thieves. However, it is important to understand trademark litigation before attempting to take any disputes to court.
One recent case highlighted the potential problems that arise when businesses take trademark dispute cases to a judge without a full understanding of what they are doing.
Constellation Brands vs. Vineyard House
Reuters examines a recent case involving a trademark spat between wineries, in which the court awarded Constellation Brands $2.3 million in attorney fees. The judge presiding over the case stated that the prosecuting winery’s claims should never have gotten as far as they did in the legal system.
Vineyard House, the prosecuting winery, attempted to push for use of a “To Kalon” trademark, which Constellation Brands has owned incontestably since 1988. Vineyard House’s owner attempted to press the case onward in spite of this and despite the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office warning Vineyard House against using “To Kalon”.
A cautionary tale
This case serves as a story of warning for any other business owner who might get tied up in the obsessive desire to own a trademark that they have no actual legal grounds to pursue. Before making rash decisions, it is important to know the history of the business, listen to the counsel of business partners, and take legal aid at face value when you seek it out.
Before making any attempt at taking trademark disputes to litigation, it is always a good idea to seek the opinion of legal aid first, as well. This can help save time and money in the future.