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Likelihood of Confusion at Its Most Blatant

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Food, Squirrelly Thoughts

-Wes Anderson, Attorney

Imagine my surprise and amusement to find a recent shipment of wine included a very interesting red blend. The bottle featured a name that would make any trademark lawyer do a double-take:

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That’s LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION wine, 2015 vintage (a good year for consumer confusion). Of course, the wine itself invites confusion, as indicated on the back label:

Likely to be confused with the boldest wine you’ve had, this dry red derives its riper fruit from Paso Robles’ heat, ensureing it suits heavy steak dishes. The stainless steel-aged Syrah and Petite Sirah conjure flavors that are anything but confusing: blackberry, black cherry, cocoa, clove, fig and leather.

Food (or drink) for thought on this Friday – real consumer confusion indicates trademark infringement, but that doesn’t mean consumer confusion is always marketing hot lava. Confusion – say, with more expensive products or services – can be touted in advertisements, or used as puffery. I’m willing to wager a savvy marketer, or someone acquainted with trademark headaches, came up with this name – and, of course, it’s registered. And no, I didn’t taste the leather.