Two California-based wineries have just entered into a legal dispute to settle the issue over which one of them can use the word “Cult” in relation to their wines. Salvestrin winery had the term trade marked back in June 2020, however, a complaint filed by Appellation Trading Company (ATC) last week asked the court to rule that the trade mark acquired by Salvestrin is invalid.
Previously, it was Napa-based Salvestrin that first intended to sue ATC over the use of the word “Cult” for its wine products. However, ATC quickly sensed the impending strike and decided to sue first. In addition to the two companies involved in this dispute, there are at least a further two currently producing ‘Cult’ wines.
Salvestrin claims that “the CULT and CULT NAPA VALLEY trade marks have become distinctive of wine through applicant/ registrant’s substantially exclusive and continuous use of the marks in commerce”. ATC however have argued that the term “Cult” is descriptive and therefore it cannot be trade marked. Additionally, the first company to release an approved “Cult” wine bottle was Beau Vigne 11 years ago, which eventually sold off its assets to ATC. Currently, cease and desist letters have been travelling back and forth between the companies. Be sure to keep an eye out for further updates on the matter, on our reading room.
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