Mommy Mia! Court Battle Over Mom-Marketed Wines

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The makers of a wine called MommyJuice are trying to get a California court to declare that they’re not infringing on the trademark of rival wine Mommy’s Time Out. (NewsFeed meanwhile ponders whether both companies might want to include a free sippy cup with purchase.) 

Reuters reports that the owner of Mommy’s Time Out declined to comment on the matter, while the lawyer representing winery Clos LaChance, makers of MommyJuice, asserted that “Mommy is a generic word that they don’t have a monopoly on.” In order to prove there’s been a trademark violation, the owner would have to show that the names are confusing the consumers, presumably while they’re sober.

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The packaging of the maternal beverages is certainly different, though the angles — you deserve it, Mom! — are arguably similar. The Mommy’s Time Out label features a chair turned toward a corner in traditional time-out fashion, with a wine bottle and glass on the table beside it. (Possible tag line: “For Gluttons of Pinotishment.”) The MommyJuice label shows a woman who appears to be doing yoga while juggling a computer, cookery, a teddy bear and a house. Perhaps the MommyJuice people will argue that their angle isn’t about taking time out but rather about helping keep Mom ready to juggle so many things — though anyone who’s so much as dabbled in tossing things around knows that boozing it up rarely helps your game.

Reuters quoted a wine law expert (yes, apparently they exist) who said that name conflicts — and not just among vintners — are common. Trek Bicycle Corp. battled California’s Trek Winery in federal court last year. A decade ago, Kendall-Jackson filed suit against E&J Gallo over a “Turning Leaf” label. And old E&J, Ernest and Julio, even sued their younger brother Joseph in the 1980s to keep him from using the Gallo name on cheese. Which is all to say, someone’s bound to come out of this current case disappointed, but sour grapes must also be pretty standard in the wine-making community.

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