Francis Ford Coppola’s Winery issues Claim against competing Vineyard

Film director Francis Ford Coppola’s winery has sued Oregon-based vineyard Copa di Vino, claiming the winery is infringing its trade dress and trade marks.

Coppola, who is best known as the director of The Godfather trilogy, is the owner of the winery, based in Napa, California.

GMYL, the owner of Coppola’s wine-related trade marks, filed the claim yesterday, August 30 2016, at the US District Court for the Central District of California.

Copa, and its owner James Martin, are being sued for trade mark and trade dress infringement (the US version of Passing Off), and unfair competition.

GMYL claimed Copa’s Winemaker’s Cut, which features the trade mark ‘Copa’, was confusingly similar to its own wine, Director’s Cut, which features the trade mark ‘Coppola’.

Claiming trade dress infringement, GMYL alleged that Copa had copied GMYL’s Diamond Collection Black Label Claret wine.

The trade dress includes a vertical rectangular black label on the front-centre of the wine bottle, the word “Coppola” in large, bold, capital letters, gold design elements and a thin gold net surrounding the entire bottle which “presents an overall diamond pattern encompassing the wine bottle”.

GMYL also claimed that Martin was aware of the Coppola winery as he had approached Francis Coppola Winery, a company affiliated with GMYL, and proposed a business venture on behalf of Copa in 2011.

It is still in the very early stages and we will have to wait for the outcome of this case in due course.

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