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Constellation Brands Wins Trademark Dispute Over ‘To Kalon’ Wine; Judge excoriates Nickel

 

A federal court judge has granted Constellation Brands U.S. Operations Inc.  a permanent injunction after ruling that Vineyard House LLC violated trademarks and intellectual property relating to the “To Kalon” name.

 

District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the U.S. District Court for the Northern California district said in her order that:

“As trial evidence showed, To Kalon has become a fixture in Northern California’s wine industry. Attempting to quantify the goodwill which would be lost, especially amongst the narrow luxury wine market, is incredibly difficult.”

Without injunction, harm will continue.

‘Without an injunction, The Vineyard House, LLC will continue to try and use the term for its own benefit and such use will not only be a violation of Constellation’s trademark rights but will harm the public as it will suggest an inference regarding the origin of the wine that is unsupported in any credible manner.

The Vineyard House has no right to To Kalon.

“The Vineyard House, LLC will suffer no hardship as it has no right, or credible basis, to use the term. Further, the evidence demonstrated convincingly that Mr. Nickel, as the sole owner of The Vineyard House, LLC, has acted in a manner to combine and leverage his various commercial pursuits and does not maintain boundaries.”

No confidence in Nickel.

“In a vacuum, such conduct may be reasonable from a small business perspective. However, given the context here, the Court has little to no confidence that Mr. Nickel will be able to keep separate his horse, or stock, farm business which caters to the billionaires of Wellington, Florida from his wine business as run by The Vineyard House, LLC which caters to consumers of luxury cult wines. Relief is issued given that context.

In addition the judge ordered that:

The Vineyard House, LLC and any and all of its agents, members, officers, directors, employees, and/or principals are HEREBY PERMANENTLY ENJOINED from using the words To Kalon or To Kalon Vineyard or any variation therof in any manner on any wine, wine related product, reference to a wine product, or event or activity where such wine is present or referenced.”

“The permanent injunction extends to any affiliate of the The Vineyard House and its principal Jeremy Nickel including without limitation the To Kalon Farm.”

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