Napa Valley-based winery Duckhorn is suing Trinchero Family Estates for trademark infringement over its recently released Duck Commander wine range.
The Robertson family have collaborated with Trinchero Family Estates on the Duck Commander wine brand
In addition to Trinchero Family Estates, Duckhorn is also suing supermarket chain Walmart, which sells the wines, in order “to prevent further confusion, dilution and reputational and other harm” to the Duckhorn brand.
Duckhorn wants Trinchero to stop using the Duck Commander name and duck icon on its labels and pay compensation for the damage it has caused the brand.
The Duck Commander brand was created by Trinchero in collaboration with the Louisiana-based Robertson family, who found fame in US reality TV show Duck Dynasty, aired on A&E.
The range includes Triple Threat Red Blend, Wood Duck Chardonnay and Miss Priss Pink Moscato, all of which retail at Walmart for US$9.99 a bottle.
Representatives from Duckhorn and Trinchero met last November to discuss the trademark infringement issue, though the latter found Duckhorn’s suggested alterations to the Duck Commander brand “overreaching and unsupported.”
A letter from Trinchero’s attorneys highlighted other duck-related brands in the drinks industry and asserted that the Duck Commander range is targeting a different group of consumers to Duckhorn, whose wines sell for considerably more than $9.99.
Duckhorn has rejected the argument, insisting that consumer confusion over the two brands is putting the Duckhorn brand in danger.
“The case for confusion or dilution is compelling and concerning, given that many key US retailers shelve wines alphabetically, meaning that Decoy by Duckhorn, Duck Commander and Duckhorn Vineyards wines could be placed side by side,” the company said in a statement.
The lawsuit was filed on 27 November in the US District Court for the Northern District of California. Trinchero Family Estates owns the Sutter Home and Ménage å Trois wine brands among many others.
The Robertson family runs the multi-million dollar Duck Commander brand that makes duck calls from Louisiana cedar trees and other duck-hunting merchandise.
The fourth season of their reality TV show, Duck Dynasty, was the most watched nonfiction cable TV series in history.