Vintage Wine Estates Files Trademark Infringement Suit Against Dan Cohn
Vintage Wine Estates, Inc. filed a trademark infringement suit against Dan Cohn, formerly of B.R. Cohn Winery on Feb. 29, 2016. In the filing, Vintage Wine Estates alleges that Dan Cohn violated the B.R. Cohn trademark when he launched the Cohn Wines brand by Daniel Cohn Wine Company earlier in 2015. The first hearing in the case will be held June 16, 2016.
On July 24, 2015, Vintage Wine Estates purchased the B.R. Cohn Wine brand and B.R. Cohn Winery from the Cohn family. The acquisition, according to Vintage, incorporated vineyards, buildings, equipment, inventory and intellectual property, including the B.R. Cohn name. "Among the most valuable intellectual property assets purchased by [Vintage Wine Estates] were the trade name and trademark B.R. COHN for wine and proprietary customer data of distributors and retailers who purchase B.R. COHN wine throughout the United States," the filing reads.
Vintage Wine Estates is asserting that the B.R. Cohn name is "inherently distinctive as used in association with wine," and that by opening Daniel Cohn Wine Company (DCWC) and using his family name in the branding, he violated trademarks.
In a statement, Daniel Cohn said:
“Vintage has no non-compete agreement with me and I never gave it rights to use my name. Nevertheless, Vintage has demanded that I cannot use my own name and claims on its wine label that I am "the proprietor" of its BR Cohn wines, which is false. I am not the proprietor of Vintage’s winery. I am the proprietor of Daniel Cohn Wine Company and I fully intend to vigorously defend the right to use my given name and continue to do what I do best and love most—making wine.”