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California winery to Texas tile-marker: That's our trademark

A California vineyard has sued a Texas-based tile maker after the tile maker introduced a line of products with the same name as the winery.

Fantesca Estate & Winery, LLC, in St. Helena sued Mohawk Industries Inc. of Dallas on Dec. 3, alleging that Mohawk's Dal-Tile unit is infringing on the trademark it owns on "Fantesca."

Apparently, Dal-Tile has a wine-themed line of tiles and uses "Fantesca" in connection with some of them. Fantesca is worried that people will erroneously think the wine-themed tiles are in some way connected with its vineyard, which they are not.

Fantesca began using its name in connection with wine and wine-related products in 2004. Its court papers do not say when Dal-Tile released its wine-theme tiles, but the vineyard does think Mohawk began using the name after Fantesca properly registered its name with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Fantesca Estate & Winery has sent Mohawk Industries a cease-and-desist letter, but has said that effort was to no avail.

We think this story does a good job of showing that companies these days must be vigilant as to what entities in other industries, not just their own, are doing. If Fantesca only monitored what other wineries were calling their wines, it may never have realized that Mohawk might be infringing on its trademark.

Fully protecting your intellectual property assets takes some investment. That being said, many companies find that investment to be worth it.

Source: Bloomberg News, "Fantesca Winery Sues Mohawk's Dal-Tile for Infringement," Victoria Slind-Flor, Dec. 5, 2012

•· Our office often works with clients who have trademark matters that need attending to. If you would like to know more about our practice, or about trademark law in general, one resource would be our Trademark page.

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