January 23, 2013

Damon Wright quoted in The Blog of Legal Times and Washingtonian on trademark case involving DC-based distillery

2 min

Venable partner Damon Wright was quoted in articles on January 17, 2013 in The Blog of Legal Times and Washingtonian regarding a declaratory judgment trademark case filed by his client, New Columbia Distillers, LLC. New Columbia is a DC-based distillery owned by the family of Venable associate Elizabeth Lowe and the maker of Green Hat Gin.

In November 2012, New York based gin producer Green Farms II LLC and maker of Greenhook Ginsmiths gin sued New Columbia in U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey for a variety of claims arguing that the Green Hat mark is confusingly similar to the Greenhook Ginsmiths mark and thus that New Columbia has committed trademark infringement. New Columbia served a Rule 11 motion on Green Farms. Green Farms then indicated it would dismiss its lawsuit and re-file in U.S. District for the Southern District of New York. In response, New Columbia recently filed a declaratory judgment complaint in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia asking the court to declare that the Green Hat mark does not infringe on the Greenhook Ginsmiths mark.

In a statement reported in The Blog of Legal Times, Wright highlighted the fact that New Columbia is not seeking damages, and is pursuing the case in order "to put Greenhook Ginsmiths' claims to rest." He argued "There are dozens of registered trademarks for distilled spirits and liquors that use the word 'Green.' We don’t believe people will be confused. The labels also look entirely different. Green Hat's trademark is also registered."

Washingtonian quoted Wright, saying "I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure that Greenhook Ginsmiths makes a very nice gin. I can tell you from experience that Green Hat’s gin is delicious." He concluded, saying "Green Hat hopes the lawsuit can be quickly resolved, so the two companies can simply compete in the marketplace."