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Banfi Products Corp. v. Kendall-Jackson Winery Ltd.

United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York
74 F. Supp. 2d 188 (1999)


Facts

In 1990, the predecessor in interest to Kendall-Jackson Winery Limited (defendant) began producing a wine called ROBERT PEPI COLLINE DI SASSI. The cream-and-orange label stated that the wine was produced in California. The label did not contain any pictures and stated “Napa Valley Sangiovese.” ROBERT PEPI COLLINE DI SASSI was marketed as a Sangiovese, although it contained a small amount of Cabernet. The wine cost $20 to $25 and was marketed as a high-end wine. In 1991, Banfi Products Corporation (plaintiff) began selling a wine in Italy called COL-DI-SASSO. In 1992, Banfi began commercial distribution in the United States. The label depicted a landscape and stated that the wine was produced in Italy. The wine was a 50-50 blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet; it was marketed as an “everyday” wine and cost $8 to $10. COL-DI-SASSO was a critically acclaimed wine. Banfi sued, seeking a declaratory judgment that its wine did not infringe on Kendall Jackson’s trademark. The parties stipulated that there was no evidence of actual confusion. Banfi presented evidence that wine buyers are generally discerning of their wine purchases.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Platt, J.)

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