Yellow Tail producer, Casella Wines, is suing California’s Bronco Wine Company for trademark infringement.
Casella is alleging that Bronco’s use of square brackets around the name of the recently released super-cheap Down Under label infringes the ‘[yellow tail]’ name which is trademarked.
Documents were lodged with a Manhattan Court on Thursday.
Bronco, best known for the ultra-cheap US$1.99 Charles Shaw brand – nicknamed ‘Two Buck Chuck’- launched [Down Under] in July. It retails for US$2.99 a bottle.
It is wine bought from Australia’s 475m litre surplus, at prices reported to be as low as 40 cents a litre compared with the average price of $3.11 a litre for Australian wine exports in 2008-09.
Bronco’s chief executive, Fred Franzia, said just before the launch that he was targeting Yellow Tail, which sells 8.6m cases a year in the USA at about US$S6 a bottle, because he thought Australian wines were too expensive.
Casella Wines today issued a brief statement, saying it ‘felt it necessary to take steps to protect its [yellow tail] brand in the US, which it hopes to resolve by mutual agreement.’
It did not plan to make any other comment until agreement attempts had been ‘exhausted.’
Written by Chris Snow in Adelaide