Maker's Mark Red Wax Seal Ruled a Valid Trademark

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May 10, 2012

After a nine-year court case, a federal appellate court ruled that the red wax seal on Maker's Mark bourbon bottles is a valid trademark. As reported in Bloomberg, the lawsuit came about in 2003 over a Jose Cuervo bottle of tequila also sealed with red wax. Cuervo's owner, Diageo, claimed that since the trademark had "aesthetic functionality" it could not be enforced. The point seems a bit moot as the Cuervo bottle in contention has not been produced since 2004, but it does provide a precedent for future trademark infringement action.

Maker's Mark COO Rob Samuels explained, "My grandmother dipped the first bottle of Maker’s Mark in red wax, and it’s been our signature trademark ever since.”

Do you think trademarking a red wax seal is a bit overboard or justified to protect the image of a brand?

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