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Monday, December 30, 2013

Napa Winery Sues Duck Dynasty Wine Brand Over Trademark Infringement

Posted By on Mon, Dec 30, 2013 at 4:30 PM

click to enlarge Duckhorn (left) is suing Duck Commander (right) over trademark infringement.
  • Duckhorn (left) is suing Duck Commander (right) over trademark infringement.

The wildly popular family behind A&E's Duck Dynasty has found itself at the center of another controversy. The Robertsons, America's favorite Bible-thumpers, recently teamed up with St. Helena's Trinchero Family Estates to create a new "Duck Commander" wine series, producing Wood Duck 2012 Chardonnay, Triple Threat 2011 Red Blend, and Miss Priss 2012 Pink Moscato.

The wines retail for $9.99 at Walmart -- the root of the problem for St. Helena's Duckhorn Vineyards, which has been producing significantly more expensive wines under a similar label for more than 30 years. The company has sued Trinchero Family Estates, Duck Commander, and Walmart for trademark infringement and unfair competition "to prevent further confusion, dilution and reputational and other harm to Duckhorn."

The lawsuit was filed on Nov. 27, well before the publication of the Jan. 2014 GQ article in which Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson's anti-gay comments kicked off a firestorm and resulted in his short suspension from the show.

According to a statement from the company, Duckhorn has reached out to both Trinchero Family Estates and Duck Commander to reach an amicable resolution, but received no response:

"We proposed several simple compromises that allowed for both brands to coexist in a way that would eliminate the possibility of any marketplace confusion on wine lists or on retail shelves. 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. Duck Commander wines are also produced in our hometown of St. Helena (as indicated on their bottle) causing further potential confusion."

A representative from Trinchero Family Estates said that they were unable to comment on matters of public litigation.

Duck Commander wines are just one of the dozens of branded products that feature the Robertson family and the Duck Commander brand, from road kill candles to camouflage Segways and recliners.

Here's the filing:

2013-11-27 1 Complaint Plus Exhibits HB DWC

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About The Author

Anna Roth

Anna Roth

Bio:
Anna Roth is SF Weekly's former Food & Drink Editor and author of West Coast Road Eats: The Best Road Food From San Diego to the Canadian Border.

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