Sunday, March 8, 2015
KDA Wants to Own "Drink Kentucky Bourbon"
"Drink Kentucky Bourbon" is a worthy sentiment, one we can all get behind, but if you say it or write it down you could be in big trouble, if the Kentucky Distillers Association (KDA) succeeds in registering it as a trademark.
Yes, the KDA, as part of its mission to control and profit from anything having to do with Kentucky bourbon, wants to trademark the phrase "Drink Kentucky Bourbon." The trademark application was filed by Upper Right Marketing LLC of Lexington, which supplies imprinted merchandise for the KDA, which the KDA then sells on its website. The rocks glass pictured above is an example. As indicated in their filing, they want the sole right to slap that phrase on everything from glassware to candied nuts.
The trademark examiner has approved the mark and now it's time for objections. First in, Sazerac, which has three bourbon production facilities in Kentucky and a host of Kentucky bourbon brands. Sazerac is not a member of the KDA.
Sazerac argues that the KDA should be denied the mark because it is just a “generic or merely descriptive phrase ... that no one owner should control.” The trademark office is not supposed to register "generic or merely descriptive phrases" as marks.
In its objection, Sazerac said, "The 'Drink Kentucky Bourbon' mark is comprised of a phrase or statement that every one offering a Kentucky bourbon product or other products marketed and sold in connection with the promotion of Kentucky bourbon, should be able to use freely in the promotion of those goods."
We'll drink Kentucky bourbon to that.