The San Antonio Winery recently obtained a preliminary injunction against Constellation Brands. On March 11, 2014, Judge John Kronstadt of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California ruled that Constellation’s Rosatello brand was too similar to the Stella Rosa wine of San Antonio Winery. See San Antonio Winery Earns Victory in Stella Rosa Trademark Litigation; see also San Antonio Winery Earns Victory in Stella Rosa Trademark Litigation. A good comparison of the two labels can be seen here.
San Antonio Winery—which (despite its name) is an historic, family-owned winery located in Los Angeles, California—filed a complaint against Constellation in August of last year. In its complaint, the winery argued that the two products would cause consumer confusion due to the similar names and packaging. The Rosatello wine is a sparkling rosé from Italy and is imported by Constellation. Both labels feature the word “Rosa” on the front label in red with a crown-like emblem on top of the name. The fonts and colors used on the labels are very similar.
The hearing for San Antonio Winery’s motion for a preliminary injunction was held on January 27, 2014. An order was entered on March 11, as per the below:
Defendants, their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and all persons in active concert or participation with them who receive notice of this Order, are preliminarily enjoined from importing, distributing, and/or selling wine or other products that are packaged and/or labeled as [image depicting Constellation’s Rosatello wine]. San Antonio Winery v. Constellation Brands, Case No. CV13-6409 DDP.
The injunction can be accessed here.
While this clearly marks a strong victory for San Antonio Winery, it also signifies another wine lawsuit pursued against a global entity by a domestic winery. Recently, Madison Vineyard Holdings, owner of the Jamieson Winery in Napa Valley, filed a complaint against Pernod Ricard’s Irish Distillers Limited following a cease-and-desist letter issued by Irish Distillers Limited. See Jamieson Vineyards Takes On Pernod Ricard’s Irish Distillers. As noted previously, the interesting aspects about both the Jamieson v. Jameson case and the San Antonio Winery v. Constellation Brands case is the eagerness and courageousness of smaller wineries to pursue larger and, in these particular suits, global corporations. While each case should be evaluated on the basis of their individual facts, this achievement for San Antonio Winery is notable for smaller or regional producers who believe their intellectual property rights might be infringed upon by larger corporations.
DISCLAIMER: This blog post is not intended as legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship results. Please consult your own attorney for legal advice.