Up until now, there has been a pretty clear line between alcoholic and non-alcohol beverages. However, the Trademark and Trial Appeal Board of the USPTO in Joel Gott Wines, LLC v. Rehoboth Von Gott, Inc. found that there is a likelihood of confusion between trademarks used for wine (here, JOEL GOTT) and water (GOTT LIGHT).

The USPTO found that winery-branded water is sold in the tasting rooms of wineries, so consumers would expect water and wine to come from the same source. Therefore, use of GOTT on both water and wine is likely to cause confusion.

This holding will likely be narrowly interpreted to address only water because wineries do not typically sell other branded non-alcohol beverages. However, this ruling may make it harder to clear new trademarks in the wine space.

Read the opinion here.