Maker’s Mark: Wax On, Wax Off
The Sixth Circuit decided that the red wax seal on the top of bottles of Maker’s Mark whiskey is a trademark. Maker’s Mark brought this case against Jose Cuervo, who had used a similar mark on its “Reserva de la Familia” bottles. Maker’s Mark has been using the wax seal since 1958, and the seal has been trademarked since 1985. Judge Boyce Martin, Jr. (who recently judged the Kaufman Moot Court Competition at Fordham Law) wrote a fun opinion that spends several informative pages on the history of whiskey and bourbon, and determined that the wax seal was not functional and that there would be a likelihood of confusion in the market to have other liquor bottles bearing the red dripping wax seal.