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Intellectual Property Question

My wine label has a fanciful name that is similar to another winery’s brand. Is this okay since I am only using this name as a fanciful name and not a brand?

The terms “brand” and “fanciful name” as used on the TTB application for Certificate of Label Approval have no legal effect in the context of trademark law. A winery’s use of a “fanciful name” that is similar to another winery’s “brand,” or vice versa, can still result in liability for trademark infringement. Whenever a distinctive term appears on a wine label in a prominent manner it functions as a trademark. For instance, Francis Ford Coppola has a line called DIAMOND COLLECTION where that term appears on the label smaller and subordinate to the main brand FRANCIS COPPOLA, but still in a prominent manner. Therefore, the term DIAMOND COLLECTION still functions as a trademark and if another party used the same mark for its fanciful name or its brand name, there would likely be a trademark infringement problem. This highlights the need for performing a trademark clearance search before adopting a new name for your wine.

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