Trademark Fight Ensues over Duck Dynasty Branded Wines

By Joseph Mandour on January 8, 2014

duck-150x150 Los Angeles – The family that rose to fame for maintaining their rough country, traditional lifestyle despite becoming millionaires are now fending off a lawsuit over a recently launched line of wines.  The Robertsons, who star in the hugely popular reality TV show Duck Dynasty, have added appropriately titled “Duck Commander” wines to their wide array of merchandise, which includes apparel, books, toys and even guns.  The wines come in three varietals – a chardonnay, a red blend and a moscato – and are currently sold across the country at Walmart.

Napa Valley-based Duckhorn Wine Company is not pleased about the Robertson’s expansion into the wine market and has sued for trademark infringement, claiming that the Duck Commander wines are too similar to its own Duckhorn-labeled wines.  According to the Duckhorn, “The case for confusion or dilution is compelling and concerning, given that many key U.S. retailers shelve wines alphabetically, meaning that Decoy by Duckhorn, Duck Commander and Duckhorn Vineyards wines could be placed side by side.”

While the Duck Commander wines each sell for under ten dollars at Walmart Stores, Duckhorn wines are priced at around fifty dollars or more and are sold mainly at grocery stores and specialty wine retailers.  Nevertheless, Duckhorn named Walmart in its complaint “to prevent further confusion, dilution and reputational and other harm to Duckhorn.”  According to a statement from the high-end winery, it had reached out several times before commencing the lawsuit in an effort to resolve what it believed to be trademark infringement.   Trinchero Family Estates, which makes Duck Commander wines, responded by claiming that the changes that Duckhorn requested be made to the Duck Commander line were “overreaching and unsupported.”

While records at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) show that Duckhorn filed for trademark protection of “Duckhorn Vineyards” in 1984, “Duck Commander” was not filed in relation to wines until July 2013.  That application, which was filed by the Roberston Family company, Duck Commander, Inc., is still awaiting registration pending the outcome of the Duckhorn lawsuit.

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