Maker's Mark: Wax On, Wax Off - Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal
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Maker’s Mark: Wax On, Wax Off

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.


No word on the amount of fun “research” Judge Martin’s law clerks conducted for him.

Emily Wolf

Emily T. Wolf is a third year student at Fordham University School of Law. She grew up in North Dakota and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in biology. She hopes to pursue a career in advocating for reproductive justice.