Premium California producer Duckhorn Vineyards is locked in a legal dispute over who holds the copyright on ducks.
The eminent Napa winery, whose top wines sell for up to $90 on release, claims ducks and duck designs are ‘associated in the minds of the consuming public with Duckhorn’, the New York Times says, quoting co-founder Dan Duckhorn.
Duckhorn produces a range of wines, all closely associated with, and illustrated by, the contentious bird: the Decoy, the cult Paraduxx, Goldeneye and King Eider.
But Duck Walk Vineyards (label pictured) of New York state is standing up to its powerful near-namesake – which has already seen off two threats to its trademark.
In 1999 Central Coast winery Cecchetti Sebastiani released a Smoking Duck brand – and was persuaded by Duckhorn co-founder Dan Duckhorn to change the name and replace the label.
And Oregon’s Duck Pond Cellars reached a confidential settlement with the California winery, Duckhorn legal officer Leslie Tschida told decanter.com.
According to the New York Times, Duck Walk filed a pre-emptive complaint in a district court, asking a judge to confirm its right to use ducks on its label. Duckhorn responded with a lawsuit claiming its adversary had violated trademark law.
The case – which has been simmering since August 2000 – is pending. Both parties have been forbidden to comment by the judge.
Written by Adam Lechmere