Diageo and Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits have been locking horns over the packaging of their respective Bulleit and Redemption whiskey brands since 2017, with Diageo claiming that Deutsch’s 2016 packaging revamp for Redemption resulted in a look that infringed on Bulleit’s trademark.
Earlier this week, a jury in the Southern District of New York found merit on both sides, and each company told SND that it plans to continue pressing its case. Bulleit’s U.S. volume registered approximately 1.56 million cases in 2021, according to Impact Databank, while Redemption was at roughly 120,000 cases in the 12 months through March.
“The jury concluded that Diageo’s Bulleit trade dress is valid and protectable and that the packaging, including its iconic bottle, is famous and Deutsch’s Redemption packaging diluted Bulleit’s famous trade dress,” a Diageo spokesperson stated. “In finding in favor of Diageo on these claims, the jury rejected all of Deutsch’s counterclaims. Based on this verdict, Diageo intends promptly to pursue all available legal remedies, including the entry of an injunction to halt the use of any advertising, promotion, or sale of the current packaging, and to require a packaging change for the accused Redemption line of products.”
Deutsch countered that Diageo was awarded no monetary damages despite seeking in excess of $21 million, and emphasized that the jury found “no likelihood of confusion between the Redemption and Bulleit packaging. The jury also rejected Diageo’s allegations that Deutsch acted in bad faith when designing its Redemption bottle.”
Deutsch added that it intends to appeal other portions of the verdict, including the findings relating to trade dress dilution and its own counterclaim that Diageo made fraudulent representations to the USPTO when applying for its Bulleit packaging trademark registration.
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