Trademark battle erupts between "mommy" wines

May 6, 2011 7:31:20 AM PDT
Mother's Day is this Sunday, but there's no motherly love between a local vintner and an East Coast wine maker. The two are embroiled in a bitter legal battle over of all things the word "mommy."

Among winemakers, trademark gripes are as common as grapes. But this one has a different flavor. The battle is over "MommyJuice." A label made by San Martin based Clos LaChance. The bottle shows a woman juggling a house, teddy bear and computer.

"I was doing one of eight loads of laundry one weekend and I was thinking I was really looking forward to a glass of "MommyJuice" at the end of the day. And I said huh, that would be an interesting name for a wine," said Cheryl Durzy of MommyJuice Wines.

Interesting and taken, according to a rival; the New Jersey distributor of a different label called "Mommy's Time Out" sent a letter, warning "MommyJuice" to drop the m-word.

That prompted "MommyJuice" to file a lawsuit in San Francisco federal court.

"I would like the court to declare that "mommy" is a generic word and that it can't be trademarked on a bottle of wine. You can't own the word 'mommy,'" said Durzy.

But Napa trademark lawyer Scott Gerien says "Mommy's Time Out" can make an argument for owning the word, on wine.

"I think it's definitely something someone can claim as theirs. Because you wouldn't expect to see the word mommy on wine it's not like seeing cabernet or vineyard. The term really doesn't have anything to do with wine, so it's not really generic in that way," said Gerien.

San Jose mom Jennifer Rowe says she would be more likely to buy something with the word mommy.

"To a certain extent, just because you hope if they're being marketed to moms, they understand some of the unique pressures we're under," said Rowe.

As for the other side, the maker of "Mommy's Time Out," the president of Selective Wine Estates tells ABC7 News, "Selective has told Clos LaChance to stop using this trademark and is hopeful that Clos LaChance will agree to cease their use of Selective's trademark."


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