A small, family-owned business named San Antonio Winery has received a preliminary injunction in a federal trademark infringement suit against Constellation Brands, a global beer, wine and spirits company.
San Antonio Winery filed a trademark infringement, false designation of origin, and unfair competition complaint against Constellation Brands, in August of 2013. Among other claims, San Antonio alleged that the labeling used by Constellation on its “Rosatello” fizzy, low alcohol wine products was “confusingly similar” to San Antonio’s trademarked “Stella Rosa” labeled wine and infringed San Antonio’s trade dress.
Wine labels from both producers had the word “rosa” in the name, both used similar label backgrounds, similar black and red fonts, and both featured crown images. San Antonio took to social media to prove the confusion. Instagram posts and statements from wine storeowners, managers, and purchasers all supported San Antonio’s claim of brand confusion, demonstrating that 52 percent of respondents showed confusion over the two brands. Typically, anything over 50 percent suffices as persuasive evidence.
Based on this evidence, Judge John A. Kronstadt of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled in favor of San Antonio Winery, enjoining Constellation from labeling its products with the red and black Rosatella name and logo. Intellectual property suits like this one, brought by small businesses against larger, global corporations are being heralded as a trend in the wine industry. The San Antonio also case proves that if the evidence is solid, David really can beat Goliath.
If you own a small business like San Antonio Winery, you know that protecting your company’s intellectual property requires constant vigilance in the global marketplace. Experienced litigator James J. (“Jim”) Thomas II is ready to help Georgia businesses defend their intellectual property rights, including patents, trademarks, and copyrights, with the latest business litigation tools including social media. Jim has more than 35 years of courtroom experience in the Atlanta area, and can handle complex business litigation as well as analysis, evaluation, and resolution of existing and potential litigation. For a free consultation, email Jim, or give him a call at 404-869-5248, or go to www.litigationatlanta.com.