Duckhorn sues over Duck Commander wines

duckhornIf it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and drinks like a duck, then it must be Duckhorn.

Such appears to be the logic of Duckhorn Wine Company, which has sued over the Duck Commander wines. The controversial Phil Robertson, who recently got suspended (or not really?) from Duck Dynasty, was not named a party to the suit. Trinchero Family Estates is a defendant in the suit, as is Wal-Mart where the wines are line priced at $9.99. Duckhorn Merlot sells for $54 a bottle.

What do you think: valid mark infringement through a case of customer confusion? Or is Duckhorn seeking to simply get it’s name out there during the discussions of the popular TV show?


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20 Responses to “Duckhorn sues over Duck Commander wines”

  1. Never a big fan of Duckhorn Wines.I doubt that they can maintain an exclusive patent on any name that include Duck. Geez Disney should have filed a Patent suit on behalf of Donald Duck. He vaz he furst.

  2. Confusion? Seriously? Also agree with Jack Bulkin: Other trade names out there include Duck Tape, Toilet Duck and Duck Head (I am not making these up), not to mention the Robertsons’ existing Duck Commander brand, of which the wine is simply an extension.

  3. Trinchero Family Estates used their size and legal muscle to keep the Italian Trinchero winery (a small family operation that has been around for decades and makes world class Barbara) from selling their wine under their name in the U.S. Given that, I hope that the Duck Dynasty folks take them to the cleaners.

  4. If any “fan” of Duck Dynasty mistook the $54 Duckhorn or even associated the two I would think it a miricle! Logo different – come on people it’s greedy btw I did not know about commander wine thanks Duckhorn, I didn’t know about your wine either but it does not mean I’m buying or confused by the quality possibly of either wine or that they are not connected in any way-

  5. Lizzie, Slow down and take a breath.
    It is “Duct Tape” and “Toilet Duct.”
    Better to be thought a fool, than speak, and remove all doubt.

  6. Duckhorn obviously didn’t track what happened to the Specialized bicycle squabble last month and this month over the name Roubaix. It was a PR nightmare for which they folded and apologize. Anyone thank Al Gore for the Internet recently? Duck Commander should. It obviously worked in their A&E battle as well.

  7. I know there’s a toilet duck. I looked it up to make sure, and there’s even a YouTube commercial for it.

  8. @Jack – Yes, I agree. In suing Trinchero and Wal-Mart, Duckhorn has selected formidable opponents. The duck wine lawsuits from here on out may be shot down…

    @Winnie – I agree: different look and feel, different price points, different sales channels. It will be interesting to see what happens.

    @Rick – There is a Duck brand tape

  9. Duck Dynasty is blatantly homophobic and racist. I would hope that the Trinchero family would not “dirty” their hands with this travesty.

  10. This isn’t the first time Duckhorn has sued over branding, Roughly ten years ago, they suited Duckwalk Vineyard on the South Fork of LI for the same reason.

  11. Are they going to sue if the word ‘wine’ is on the label?

    While I am at it, a given member of that TV cast may be for what is stated in the Bible, that in iself does not make him ‘homophobic’.
    So, don’t watch their TV show!!! If enough people quit watching it, it will go away.

  12. […] Popular wine blogs have already created quite a stir with yet another lawsuit on behalf of Duckhorn. According to Duckhorn, however, the wine company tried to reach several “amicable” resolutions such that Duckhorn and Duck Commander could “coexist.” See Napa Winery Sues Duck Dynasty Wine Brand Over Trademark Infringement. Stay tuned as On Reserve will post more updates as such become available. […]

  13. Hello people. Duckhorn is suing to get publicity and marketing. How simple is that? $200 bucks to file a lawsuit, pay some lawyers, dink around, and even with the expenses that are write offs, they have national coverage, and it includes TMZ!!! Cheaper than launching a marketing campaign, with greater results. Does anyone remember “Turning Leaf” and Jess Jackson v. Gallo? Over a grape leaf on the label? Please…

  14. The Duck Commander seems to be making anything and everything nowadays…what is sad is people are eating it up…and in this case, drinking it up!
    Happy New Year!

  15. I find vigorous trademark enforcement to be pretty silly. That said, it is the way the game is played in corporate America. Budweiser, Gallo, and Trinchero have all sued to protect their trademark. In Gallo’s case, against their own brother over cheese, not wine. GI Partners, Duckhorn’s Corporate master, will play by these established rules.
    The word “duck” and the image of a duck on the label of a bottle of wine should be enough to win Duckhorn’s case. It is not necessary to prove intent to infringe, merely that the possibility of confusion exists. Those crying “fowl” about Duckhorn’s suit might view things differently if it was their product’s trademark that was being diluted.

  16. Gallo’s Turning Leaf was an obvious rip off of JJ’s Vintners Reserve. But Gallo’s lawyer ran circles around Fred Furth who represented Jess. All he had to do was assemble 50 bottles using clear glass and white labels.

  17. This issue just seems to be getting out of control. Duckhorn obviously has been around for a long time, and I can see why they want to preserve their name and high recognition.. they’re a great vineyard that produces high quality wines. However, at the same time, I feel that as many of you have said, some recognition needs to be noted in that there is a huge difference in price and label distinction between Duckhorn and Duck Commander. I honestly bought a bottle of the Duck Commander Red Blend to post on my wine tasting blog, and it was only $10.99, versus a bottle of Duckhorn Napa Valley Cabernet that we sell here for $65.99. So in short, I think that the guys from Duck Dynasty probably should of thought of this or a similar possibility happening, but this is a little over the top.

    “Wine A Little, You’ll Feel Better.”


  18. I’m guessing the Duckhorn complaint alleges at least two claims: trademark infringment and dilution of Duckhorn’s brand. If Duckhorn can establish that the marks are substantially similar and would cause a liklihood of consumer confusion it will succeed on its claim of tradmark infringment. Moreover, if it can establish that it is more famous than Duck Commander wine and that Duck Commander wine dilutes or tarnishes its brand, it may prevail on a dilution claim. That people who read wine blogs can distinguish the two says nothing about the walmart wine shopper who might assume that Duck Commander is Duckhorn’s low cost offering. I don’t know that Duckhorn will be successful. But given that coporations spend millions of dollars developing brand image and brand loyalty, I hardly think this suit is frivolous. Law is as complex as wine. If common sense were enough to be a master sommelier, we’d all be one. Same with law.

  19. A bit of extra publicity never hurts!
    Anyone remember the press that Fairview (South Africa) received when they faced litigation for their ‘Goats do Roam’ range of wines – although in that case it backfired on the French!

  20. so…is Duckhorn suing Duck Pond as well??
    Which duck came first????


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