|The Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Distances and directions here.|
FRANKFORT, KY -- An agreement has been reached to solve a trademark dispute in the U.S. spirits industry.
The Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA) and Sazerac Company Inc. on Thursday announced they have reached a confidential settlement to end litigation filed in U.S. District Court in May 2010 by the KDA against Sazerac, which then countersued. They also announced they wouldn't reveal terms of the agreement.
The case was scheduled to be heard in six weeks in U.S. District Court in Louisville. That now has been rendered moot.
The essence of the KDA suit is that Sazerac allegedly violated trademarks by using the phrase "Kentucky Bourbon Trail" and logos when it used similar phrases and designs in promoting its unaffiliated Kentucky distilleries.
Sazerac countered that the KDA had abandoned the trademarks by not seeking to protect them. In the summer of 2009, former KDA member Sazerac applied for a trademark and copyright on the phrase "Buffalo Trace Distillery on the Bourbon Trail" and "Tom Moore Distillery on the Bourbon Trail."
Members of the KDA are Beam Global Spirits & Wine (Jim Beam and Maker’s Mark), Brown-Forman, Diageo North America, Four Roses, Heaven Hill and Wild Turkey. Sazerac had belonged, but resigned in December 2009.
KDA President Eric Gregory said his organization looks forward to "promoting our signature industry's rich history to visitors from around the world."
Sazerac Marketing Service Director Meredith Moody said, "Sazerac's three Kentucky distilleries -- Buffalo Trace, Barton 1792 and The Glenmore -- look forward to continue developing their distillery tours along the bourbon trail."
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