Trademark Lawsuit Claims Company has No Rights to Name
A trademark lawsuit filed against Julian Hard Cider in California claims that the company has no rights to its name because the drink is neither made in the apple picking town nor uses the town’s apples in its product.
Facts of the CaseIn the case of Kenner v. Thomas, et al, after Mr. Kenner decided to turn his barn into a cidery, he sent a letter to Julian Hard Cider in July that requested the use of the name "Julian." The company responded by issuing a cease and desist letter to Mr. Kenner, claiming that the name was trademarked infringement and false design of origin. As a result, Mr. Kenner filed a lawsuit against the owners of Julian Hard Cider in November, and he asked a judge to find that the trademark on Julian Hard Cider is invalid. He wants the court to cancel the registration of the trademark because Mr. Kenner claims that it is false advertising. "My problem with Julian Hard Cider is it's not made in Julian. They're using name to indicate it's made in Julian," said Mr. Kenner.
Issues of the CaseAccording to the lawsuit, Mr. Kenner claims that the company unfairly co-opted the town name because of its reputation for apples, apple pies, and apple picking during the fall. The suit also claims that the product itself does not even come from the apples in Julian but is made of 98% concentrate. A manager at the Blue Mountain Cidery in Oregon has gone on record as saying that their company actually makes the cider for Julian Hard Cider in Oregon using Oregon apples. However, the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control allows for the company license to let Julian Hard Cider import from another state and sell under their own name. As a result, Mr. Kenner is claiming that the trademark on the name for Julian Hard Cider is "regionally descriptive, otherwise generic and commercially deceptive." Therefore, he is seeking to end the company's rights to its name and $25,000 in relief. Mr. Kenner wants the money to go to help grow the town's craft hard cider community. "Not to go to me, but to go to a guild or consortium for Julian that will help to protect and grow the apple brand of Julian," said Mr. Kenner. A representative from Julian Hard Cider has refused to comment because of the pending litigation. A decision on the case is expected at any day.