When serious wine experts pick out a bottle of wine, they know exactly what they are looking for, possibly down to the barrel number. The rest of us are not so encyclopedic when shopping. We use vineyard names and brands as cues to quality based on prior experience. We also use branding to decide what we have tasted before and what we have not when looking for something new.
For a vineyard, wine branding is as much of an art and science as wine making. And the competition relies and obtaining speedy protection. It’s no surprise that numerous wine trademarks are filed every week at the United States trademark office. Reviewing just the filings from May 2, 2011 until May 6, 2011, the following trademarks were filed for wine:
HIGHWAY 29 WINE
PARADA DE ATAUTA
DRUM CANYON VINEYARD
STONE EDGE FARM
DB FAMILY SELECTION
CALIFORNIA-ASIA WINE EXCHANGE LLC
WHERE IT RAINS IT POURS
In such a crowded market, clearing names and brands prior to filing for trademark protection is extremely important. At a minimum a knockout search should be conducted for each country the wine will be distributed in. The search should include not just other wine brands, but also other goods in International Class 33 as well as goods which the trademark office considers related in other classes, such as beer.
Just as important is to file your trademark application as soon as possible, even if you are not yet using the name. In the United States, you can file an application up to three years prior to actually using it. When you finally start selling wine under your trademark, your rights start way back at your filing date, meaning you will have superior rights to anyone who starts using the mark after you filed your application. This type of advance filing also always winemakers the luxury of skipping a harvest or two in order to associate the perfect wine with a new brand