Corporate & Commercial

Testimonies are generally reserved for trials, so when the editor of The New York Times, James Bennet, testified before a judge who was deciding whether to dismiss a case, the hearing itself was already highly unusual. Normally, a motion to dismiss asks the judge to consider the merits of the case and whether it’s worth the court’s time to pursue the matter. If anyone is brought in to testify, it’s not until after the judge has determined that the claims have merit and the case should move forward. But Judge Jed S. Rakoff of the Federal District of Manhattan, went…
Want to have a fun time in a great place surrounded by beverage lawyers? Then head on out to the Wine, Beer & Spirits Law conference in Charlotte, NC September 16 and 17. The conference brings together a unique mix of private attorneys, in-house counsel, government regulators, and industry professionals. You can see the full agenda with presenters here. The event promises to be extremely beneficial whether you’re a seasoned practitioner or just curious about beverage law. The post Don’t miss the Wine, Beer & Spirits Law Conference in Charlotte, NC appeared first on Libation Law Blog.…
For too long, law enforcement and the courts have refused to acknowledge the real-world damage that can be done by online hate, but that attitude seems to be turning around. In just the past few months, one internet “troll” has been ordered to pay a total of more than $20 million to three different targets of his online vitriol. Andrew Anglin is the publisher of a neo-Nazi website called The Daily Stormer that has targeted (among others) a black female college student, a Jewish real estate agent, and an Arab-American comedian. In June, the comedian won a $4.1 million lawsuit…
If you’ve used Facebook at all in the past few years, you’ve probably noticed that every time you post a photo with one of your friends, Facebook automatically suggests you tag that person. While that might seem innocent enough, the facial recognition technology Facebook uses to accomplish that is highly controversial and possibly illegal. Facial recognition technology is a relatively recent development and it didn’t take long for it to become controversial. With the abundance of cameras all around us, facial recognition technology allows owners of the technology to find us just about everywhere we go, which is why Facebook…
Justice Gorsuch’s much vaunted “Amazon of liquor” comment from the oral argument on the Tennessee Retailers case is a step closer to potentially coming before the Supreme Court as briefing is now finished in the Mississippi wine shippers case. We first covered the case here and you can bone up on the issues with that coverage. At that time, only the Mississippi Attorney General and the National Beer Wholesalers had filed briefs. Now, the shippers have responded, a reply has been filed, and the Wine Freedom group run by Tom Wark has posted an amicus brief supporting the shippers. Here
To take Stone on face value, their claim is in earnest that: “If MillerCoors succeeds in supplanting Stone’s craft beers with Keystone as “STONE” in the minds of consumers, Stone’s brand and trademark will be destroyed.” But for MillerCoors part, the pragmatic narrative they’re attempting to lodged against Stone doesn’t pull any punches: “Stone Brewing is failing keep pace [sic] in an ever more crowded craft beer segment and needed to revitalize its now-outdated image as an iconoclast. Stone Brewing’s market is increasingly populated by beers that are rated in official beer tastings as simply better than Stone Brewings’ “strong…
UPDATE: The Third Circuit recently affirmed the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in Transportation Ins. Co v. Heathland Hosp. Group LLC, — Fed. Appx. —-, 2019 WL 3383876, at *1 (3d Cir. July 26, 2019), a case which we wrote about last year.  Transportation arose out of a car accident in which the plaintiff’s husband was fatally injured when he was struck by a driver who allegedly became intoxicated at a country club whose drink sales were allegedly managed by the insured. The dispositive issue was whether coverage was barred by liquor liability exclusion,…
A manufacturer of yachts was sued by a disgruntled buyer for breach of contract after the yacht he ordered was not usable in waters in the European Union as he originally specified. The buyer lost in court, however, because he argued that the yacht was a total loss, and the company presented evidence that the conversion to allow the yacht to operate in Europe would cost less than $2,000, and that it had repaired other small defects for free. Porter, Inc. is an Indiana company that manufactures boats under the Formula and Thunderbird trade names. In September 2012, Erich Schwaiger…
The recent reports that Ohio’s Platform Beer Co. has sold/partnererd with AB InBev aren’t the only reason the beer company has been in the news. They’ve got an ongoing trademark dispute with Bottle Logic. Bottle Logic is opposing Platforms attempt to register these two lightbulb marks: Based on Bottle Logic’s prior registration of these two lightbulb marks: Recently the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board told the craft brewers that they’re going to need to get ready for a trial by denying their motions for summary judgment. (link to opinion) Bottle Logic opposes Platform Beer’s attempt to register…
Legal Marijuana Shouldn’t Mean Dazed and Confused Workers! Starting on January 1 consumers will be able to buy marijuana for recreational use from licensed sellers.   Pot users will no longer need to worry about fines or jail time – but employees will need to pay attention to their employers’ policies about drug screenings and the use of cannabis at work. Employers should consider how they want to handle the legalization of cannabis in terms of workplace policies, written guidelines and staff training on the many issues that employers will be facing.  Employers should take the time to review Section 10-50
Do you ever think that all pop songs sound the same? If you have, you might not be the only one who’s had that thought. Several musicians lately have sued better known musicians, claiming their success comes, at least in part, from stealing parts from older, lesser-known songs. Lately, the musicians filing the lawsuits demanding compensation for their stolen work have been successful in court, leaving many people asking about the difference between inspiration and infringement. The latest musician to achieve success in the courtroom is Marcus Gray, who goes by Flame in the music industry. Gray wrote a Christian…
Bellion Spirits petitioned the TTB to make health statements about the positive effects of a compound called NTX in their Bellion Vodka. But the TTB found that “the proposed claims about alcohol beverages infused with NTX are explicit and implicit specific health claims that are not supported by credible evidence” which “create a misleading impression that consumption of alcohol beverages infused with NTX will protect consumers from certain serious health risks associated with both moderate and heavy levels of alcohol consumption.” The TTB reached the determination in conjunction with the FDA examining Bellion’s evidence (See the full appendix linked…
In Pennsylvania Manufacturers Indem. Co. v. Pottstown Industrial Complex, LP, 2019 WL 3281746, — A.3d —- (Pa. Super. Ct. July 22, 2019), the Pennsylvania Superior Court held an insurer owed a duty to defend its insured against a tenant’s claim for damage to its inventory from flooding during rainstorms as a result of the insured’s alleged failure to maintain the roof of the building.  Distinguishing well-established Pennsylvania law holding claims for faulty workmanship do not constitute an “occurrence,” the court held the insurer owed a duty to defend because the complaint alleged the insured’s faulty work resulted in…
An electrical subcontractor sued the general contractor after the general contractor withheld $58,000. The general contractor claimed that it was owed a setoff for work performed by other electricians, but the trial court found that the money spent by the general contractor was not within the scope of the original agreement, and the electrical contractor had performed additional work and worked overtime to complete the project, despite delays caused by other contractors. The Illinois appellate court affirmed, finding that the trial court had not made a determination against the manifest weight of the evidence. Hunter Construction Services entered into a…
The distillery wanted to register Liquor Slinger Distilling for liquor with Liquor and Distilling disclaimed and the examining attorney refused based on potential likelihood of confusion with the mark “Slinger” which is already registered for “drinking glasses; shot glasses.” The trademark trial and appeal board sided with the examining attorney and affirmed the refusal based on the similarities between the marks and the goods. The board found an “inherent, complementary relationship between the parties’ goods” finding that “liquor is served in and drunk from drinking glasses and shot glasses.” Citing the definition of “shot glass” from the Oxford…
Scotch, Champagne, Tequila, Cognac don’t just enjoy certification mark status, they’re also tied to specific federal regulations for standards of identity. For instance, under the standards of identity for distilled spirits found at 27 C.F.R. 5.22: “Cognac”, or “Cognac (grape) brandy”, is grape brandy distilled in the Cognac region of France, which is entitled to be so designated by the laws and regulations of the French Government.  “Tequila” is an alcoholic distillate from a fermented mash derived principally from the Agave Tequilana Weber (“blue” variety), with or without additional fermentable substances, distilled in such a manner that the…