The United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit upheld a US District Court ruling protecting the registered trademark for Maker's Mark's seal.
A statement from the distiller, which is owned by Beam, said the ruling is a “decisive victory for Maker's Mark in a trademark dispute dating to 2003”. The decision upholds an injunction prohibiting tequila Jose Cuervo International and its US distributor Diageo North America from the use of a dripping red wax seal on any Cuervo tequila product.
The appeals court ruling also upheld the lower court's ruling in awarding costs to Maker's Mark for its pursuit of the injunction.
"This decision is a resounding affirmation that our unique dripping red wax seal is a trademark of Maker's Mark and is off limits to competitors," said Rob Samuels, chief operating officer of Maker's Mark. "My grandmother dipped the first bottle of Maker's Mark in red wax, and it's been our signature trademark ever since. We've been confident in our position all along, and today's outcome confirming that our unique trade dress cannot be infringed is great news for fans of Maker's Mark, those who handcraft our bourbon, and those who individually dip each bottle every day."
A spokesperson from Diageo said: "Diageo is disappointed that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals chose to affirm the lower court's opinion. However, the decision will have no practical effect on either Diageo's or Tequila Cuervo's business going forward, since neither has sold Cuervo products with dripping red wax seals since 2004."