CHICAGO (CN) - A winery that first brewed a spiced-apple "Hallowine" is entitled to a half-million in damages for infringement by an Illinois competitor, the 7th Circuit ruled.
Door Peninsula Winery, based in Wisconsin, began selling a spiced-apple wine it called Hallowine in 1998. It expanded its business into Illinois the same year.
Seven years later, Illinois River Winery began making a similar spiced-apple wine, which it called by the same name.
A trademark appeals board eventually ruled that Door Peninsula had priority to the Hallowine mark, but Illinois River kept selling its Hallowine beverage.
A federal judge found Illinois River owed $508,000 for trademark infringement, and the 7th Circuit affirmed Tuesday, based in large part on the failure by Illinois River to adequately present its defenses before the lower court.
Door Peninsula submitted evidence that Hallowine was a protectable mark, but Illinois River presented only "the results of Google searches for 'Hallowine,' and a vague assertion that 'Hallowine' was commonly used for fall special events," according to the judgment.
"Presumably, the court ruled on protectability in response to Door Peninsula's brief, which marshaled both facts and law in support of its argument that 'Hallowine' was a protectable mark," Judge Michael Kanne wrote for a three-judge panel. "We will not find that an argument was adequately preserved solely because a party's opponent defended against the argument, as Door Peninsula did here."