Intellectual property in Texas is protected by federal law. Heaven Hill, a Kentucky-based whiskey maker, is suing Bob Dylan's whiskey company over allegations of trademark infringement.
The lawsuit alleges that the mark used by Heaven Hill is so similar to one used by Heaven's Door whiskey that the similarity could cause confusion among consumers. Heaven's Door is a reference to Bob Dylan's song titled "Knockin' on Heaven's Door."
Before filing the lawsuit, Heaven Hill sent a cease-and-desist letter stating that the similar names and logos could cause confusion among consumers. In response, an attorney for Heaven's Door stated that confusion seemed unlikely and that the company would not be complying with the cease-and-desist demands.
Heaven Hill alleged in its complaint that it has been using the logo since 1937. Heaven's Door release three whiskey brands this year in May. Heaven's Door has announced that it intends to vigorously defend itself against the allegations. A spokesperson for Heaven Hill declined to comment on the allegations.
A person with a business interest in a trademark may benefit from consulting an attorney experienced with intellectual property and business litigation. Companies with recognized trademarks may be protected by law from unfair competition if they can present proof that their business interests may be affected by another business using a similar trademark.
In the case involving Heaven's Door and Heaven Hill, the allegations are based on the fact that Heaven Hill believes that the marks used by the company are so similar that consumers could get them confused. Courts can consider how long a trademark has been used by a company as well as whether the mark is so generic that it should not be considered a trademark. Some types of intellectual property can be protected by law whether the property is the subject of a patent or registered trademark or not.
Source: Courier Journal, Heaven Hill sues Bob Dylan's Whiskey Brand for trademark infringement, Thomas Novelly, Aug. 21, 2018