Napa Valley wins certification mark– the first of its kind in U.S.

07 December, 2015

The Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) has announced that it has obtained a Certification Mark from the US Patent and Trademark Office for the name ’Napa Valley’.

This is a further milestone in the trade association for the valley’s wine producers' ongoing efforts to protect the Napa Valley name and prevent consumer deception. It is also the first time an American Viticultural Area (AVA) has been registered as a ‘Certification Mark’ in the US.

The association says it took the NVV five years of work in Washington DC and agreements with more than 100 brand owners to register the mark, which is critical to the association's ongoing global name protection efforts.

“The NVV is a wine industry leader in the fight to safeguard consumers from deceptive labelling practices,” said J. Scott Gerien, trademark attorney for Dickenson, Peatman & Fogarty in Napa Valley and the NVV's counsel.

"Working with other countries to obtain protection for the Napa Valley name, it became clear we needed similar status here at home to be taken seriously when requesting support outside the US. It's taken us a long time to register this mark and we're grateful to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for their assistance,” said Gerien

To register the certification mark with the US Patent and Trademark Office, NVV needed to obtain more than 50 written agreements from wineries and wine-related businesses that use the word ‘Napa’ in their own trademarks, proving that those trademarks were compliant with the standards for the Napa Valley AVA.

After applying for the Mark, an additional 50 individual agreements were negotiated with owners of new "Napa" trademarks to demonstrate enforcement of the Certification Mark.

“It was an arduous process that took many years to complete,” said Rex Stults, the NVV's government relations director. “Needless to say, we've popped open a couple of bottles of Napa Valley sparkling wine to celebrate.”

In addition to obtaining this certification mark, the NVV has gained name protection status for the Napa Valley in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey. The new US designation will allow the NVV to negotiate with additional countries and further its goal of protecting consumers worldwide.

Keywords: wine, napa valley

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