Business Irish

Thursday 28 August 2014

Jameson clashes with Jamieson over name

John Mulligan

Published 06/03/2014 | 02:30

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An employee passes barrels containing Jameson whiskey, produced by Irish Distillers Ltd., at the Pernod-Ricard distillery in Middleton.

A CALIFORNIA wine maker and Irish Distillers have clashed over the use of the 'Jameson' name, highlighting the growing success of the whiskey on the international market.

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Jamieson Ranch Vineyards, was previously known as Reata Winery and last year its name was changed by owners Alyssa O'Hare and Bryan Gordon. It's the southern-most vineyard in California's famous Napa Valley and located not far from San Francisco. The company behind the 300-acre vineyard is called Madison Vineyard Holdings.

Last December, Pernod Ricard-owned Irish Distillers sought a time extension to allow it to oppose the registration of the Jamieson Ranch Vineyards name.

Irish Distillers wrote to Madison's trademark lawyer just two weeks ago, informing him that Madison's use of the word 'Jamieson' is "confusingly similar" to 'Jameson'. It told Madison's lawyer that the use of the 'Jamieson' name is "likely to cause consumer confusion and/or the appearance that your client's business originates from or is endorsed or authorised by Irish Distillers" and that Madison's use of the 'Jamieson' moniker "constitutes trademark dilution".

It also demanded that Madison "immediately cease all use of Jameson trademarks or anything confusingly similar". It also wanted the US firm to account for all the revenue generated from the use of the 'Jamieson' name, "including sales of wine bearing the Jamieson label and sales of services in Napa, so that we may assess the damages resulting from Madison's infringing activity".

Madison has asserted that there's no possible likelihood of confusion between the 'Jamieson Ranch Vineyards' and Jameson whiskey. It has sought permission from a California court to be allowed to continue using the 'Jamieson' name. Initial disclosures are due in May.

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