Heaven Hill sues Bob Dylan whiskey brand

Spirits producer Heaven Hill Distilleries has filed a lawsuit against the Bob Dylan-owned whiskey brand Heaven’s Door Spirits, claiming it infringes its trademark rights.

Bob Dylan

The legendary singer songwriter launched his own brand of Tennessee whiskey, last year, producing a Bourbon, double barrel whiskey and a straight rye whiskey at a distillery house inside a deconsecrated church in Tennessee.

Called Heaven’s Door, the brand is a collaboration between Dylan and entrepreneur Marc Bushala, the co-founder of Kentucky Straight Bourbon “Angel’s Envy”, which was sold for $150 million to Bacardi in 2015.

The brand itself is named after Dylan’s 1973 hit, that was later covered by Guns n’ Roses in 1987.

However last week the Heaven Hill Distilleries filed a lawsuit against the start-up brand at a US District Court in Louisville, arguing that it infringes its own trademark, which it has been using for more than 80 years since it was founded in the 1930s.

A cease and desist letter was sent to the Chicago-based Heaven’s Door in April, arguing that its use of its trademark “will create a likelihood of confusion” with the Kentucky Bourbon brand’s products.

It also noted similarities between the “stacked” logo used for Heaven’s Door and the one used by Heaven Hill.

Responding to the lawsuit, as reported by the Courier Journal, spokesperson for Heaven’s Door said: “Heaven’s Door Spirits, LLC finds the allegations to be completely without merit and intends to vigorously defend itself and its Heaven’s Door brand.”

Heaven Hill say it has spent $7.5 million in the last five years on nationwide marketing, and is asking a judge to grant a temporary injunction prohibiting Heaven’s Door from producing, distributing or marketing until the lawsuit is concluded.

In addition, attorneys for Heaven Hill want a judge to force Heaven’s Door to “deliver up for destruction or other disposition all goods, packaging, containers, advertisements, promotions, signs, displays” with their company name.

The suit is also seeking unspecified monetary damages.


2 Responses to “Heaven Hill sues Bob Dylan whiskey brand”

  1. Allen Murphey says:

    This is crazy. I just visited their official website and they do not promote the Heaven Hill brand. They do promote the myriad of other brands they own. I had to google the label to even see what it looks like even though I am in the business, and have been for over 30 years. The packaging couldn’t be more different and I see nothing that would lead the consumer astray. One more reason to substantiate the claim that if it weren’t for lawyers, we wouldn’t need them!

  2. S. McCartney says:

    I am sure Max and his lawyers are just looking for a reason to hold down a competitor. They don’t share in the thought of free and open market. Heaven Hill is over the hill where Heaven’s Door is new and creative, Max wishes his brands looked as fresh and creative as Heaven’s Door.
    I have been in the business since the late 80’s There is nothing new under the sun, every brand is a spinoff from something. Everyone is trying to find a new path that engages new customers. If that were not true Max would still only be selling bourbon!

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