Earlier this year, On Reserve reported about the declaratory judgment suit launched against against Pernod Ricard’s Irish Distillers Limited, owner of the renowned Jameson Irish Whiskey, by Napa Valley-based vineyard Madison Vineyard Holdings, LLC, the owner of Jamieson Ranch. See Jamieson Vineyards Takes On Pernod Ricard’s Irish Distillers. The complaint was filed in response to a cease and desist letter originally sent by Irish Distillers to Madison Vineyard Holdings, which asserted that the name “Jamieson” was confusingly similar to “Jameson” and was “likely to cause consumer confusion” or allow customers to think the mark “Jamieson” originated from, was endorsed by, or or authorized by Irish Distillers. The legal battle continued through the summer, including a counterclaim on behalf of the distiller. See The Trademark Battle of Jamieson Ranch Vineyards and Pernod’s Irish Distillers.
This last week, Wines & Vines reported that Jamieson Ranch Vineyards and the makers of Jameson Irish Whiskey settled and that Jamieson Ranch Vineyards would continue to use the mark “Jamieson” on its wines. See Jamieson Ranch Vineyards Keeps Disputed Name. According to Wines & Vines, the president of Jamieson Ranch Vineyards assured Irish Distillers that Jamieson Ranch Vineyards was in the market to produce wine—and not spirits. Id. “Jamieson Ranch” is the fourth name the property in Napa has had since 2009.
The remaining details of the settlement are unknown as of present, but one can only begin to imagine the settlement’s course and structure. This win for Jamieson Ranch Vineyards against a subsidiary of global entity Pernod Ricard is certainly an achievement. But, of course, there are many reasons why Irish Distillers may have opted to settle despite dispatching a cease and desist letter. For any company, a trademark infringement lawsuit can be timely, costly, and complicated, regardless of the size of the business. Still, it is possible that the assurance Jamieson Ranch Vineyards would not branch out into the spirits business may have been enough to meet the underlying goals of Irish Distillers.
For more information on wine or alcohol law, labeling, or trademark, please contact Lindsey Zahn.
DISCLAIMER: This blog post is for general information purposes only, is not intended to constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship results. Please consult your own attorney for legal advice.