Back in May, clothing company Blue Sphere Inc., which does business as Lucky 13, sued singer Taylor Swift for trademark infringement over the use of “Lucky 13.” Thirteen happens to be the singer’s lucky number: she was born on December 13, uses the number in her Twitter account name (@taylorswift13), and in the past sold t-shirts on her website emblazoned with “Lucky 13″. The clothing manufacturer, whose clothes are aimed at the same demographic Swift appeals to, claimed that Swift’s use of the trademark is damaging its business,.
Last week, Swift’s legal team fired back, stating in court documents: “… the alleged uses of ‘Lucky 13′ are so drastically and obviously different that there’s no chance that any consumer could possibly be confused about the source of the goods.” The court documents go on to say that the differences in style and “purpose,” combined with the use of the singer’s name eliminates any chance of customer confusion.
When Lucky 13 originally filed the suit, Jess Collen wrote in Forbes: “The obvious legal defense here would be that no trademark use is being made of “Lucky 13,” but that this is just a favorite phrase well known to fans of the defendant, and not likely to confuse anyone. But a favorite phrase is not necessarily free for use if someone else has claimed it first.”
There are often attempts to trademark commonly used phrases like “Lucky 13” (read about “honest to goodness” and the battle over “app store”). And, not surprisingly, trademarks including numbers are common (e.g., Boeing 737, 747, etc.). Even that phone number made famous by Tommy Tutone — 867-5309 — has been registered as a trademark in the U.S. by a plumbing and heating business.
Packaging wine in a paint can sounds pretty original, doesn’t it? Pennsylvania-based Paradocx Vineyard has been selling wine in a paint can since 2007 and owns patents on the can design and trademarks for two of its clever brand names: Pail Pink and Whitewash. The vineyard was surprised to find out that the McCann Vilnius design agency in Lithuania released wine in a paint can earlier this year. Now Paradocx is suing the Interpublic Group of Companies, which owns McCann Vilnius, for patent and trademark infringement, unjust enrichment, and unfair competition.
Paradocx’s paint can wine is actually contained in a sealed bag inside the can, and there’s a spout on the outside for serving.
According to Foodbeast, McCann Vilnius in Lithuania creates a limited edition wine packaging for each year’s new batch of Beaujolais Nouveau. The company’s most recent paint bucket was purple and featured printed details on how many glasses of wine it takes to turn your teeth and lips purple. Here’s a photo from Packaging of the World:
While the paint can wine case works its way through the U.S. court system, boxed wine is growing in popularity since the packaging is environmentally friendly and lightweight. You can check out Epicurious’ list of the Top 5 Boxed Wines here. There are also several canned wines on the market, including Wild Pelican, Union Wine, and sparkling wine from Francis Ford Coppola Winery (the Sofia Mini)— popular because of their portability.
Cans, bag-in-a-box, paint cans — what’s next in wine packaging? Tetra packs, cardboard bottles, stacked pre-filled glasses, and wine cubes are on the market now. And if you’re feeling creative, you can use that wine from a paint can to try a little painting with wine.