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Trademark furore over Aussie wine

Trademark furore over Aussie wine

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Australian wine brand Yellow Tail has started legal proceedings against two US wine companies for infringements on its trademark.

AUSTRALIAN wine brand Yellow Tail has started legal proceedings against two US wine companies for infringements on its trademark.

Casella Wines, maker of Yellow Tail, based in South West NSW, has enlisted the services of US firm Blank Rome, to represent them in the case against Bronco Wine Co. and Barrel Ten Quarter Circle Inc.

Casella Wines alleges that the label for Bronco Wine Co. and Barrel Ten Quarter Circle’s new Australian Chardonnay wine, Down Under, is substantially similar to and infringes on the trademarked label for Yellow Tail.

Bronco Wine Co. is the same company responsible for discount wine brand Two Buck Chuck.

“Bronco’s use of Casella’s iconic square brackets and its use of Australian-centric wording in connection with the sale of Australian wine are likely to confuse consumers,” the legal documents stated.

A company spokesperson added: "Casella Wines has felt it necessary to take steps to protect its Yellow Tail brand in the US, which it hopes to resolve by mutual agreement. Casella Wines do not have any further comment until this avenue has been exhausted."

Down Under sells for about US$3 (AUD$3.60), or half the price of Yellow Tail. However, both wines come in high-shouldered bottles and have duotone capsules.

Blank Rome is the same firm which successfully represented Westinghouse Lighting in a major trademark case against Polybrite International Inc recently.

After a six-day arbitration, Westinghouse Lighting Corporation was awarded US$7.5 million (AUD$9.1m) in damages from PolyBrite, which failed to pay royalties for using and selling lightbulbs under the Westinghouse brand. Casella Wines vs Bronco Wine Company et al; is being held in the Southern District Court of Manhattan under judge Richard Holwell.
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