May 9, 2012


U.S. Appeals Court Upholds Lower Court Ruling Protecting Distinctive Maker's Mark Trademark

Loretto, Kentucky, May 9, 2012 - The United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit today upheld a U.S. District Court ruling protecting the registered trademark for Maker's Mark's signature dripping red wax seal. The ruling is a decisive victory for Maker's Mark (NYSE: BEAM) in a trademark dispute dating to 2003, and upholds an injunction prohibiting Jose Cuervo International, Inc., its affiliates and Cuervo's United States distributor Diageo North America from the use of a dripping red wax seal on any Cuervo tequila product. The appeals court ruling also upheld the lower court's ruling in awarding costs to Maker's Mark for its pursuit of the injunction.

"This decision is a resounding affirmation that our unique dripping red wax seal is a trademark of Maker's Mark and is off limits to competitors," said Rob Samuels, chief operating officer of Maker's Mark. "My grandmother dipped the first bottle of Maker's Mark in red wax, and it's been our signature trademark ever since. We've been confident in our position all along, and today's outcome confirming that our unique trade dress cannot be infringed is great news for fans of Maker's Mark, those who handcraft our bourbon, and those who individually dip each bottle every day."

Today's appeals court ruling upheld an April 2, 2010 opinion by Federal Judge John G. Heyburn II of the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. Maker's Mark was represented in this litigation by a team from the law firm of Kenyon & Kenyon of Washington, D.C. led by Edward T. Colbert.

About Maker's Mark® Bourbon

In 1954, at a small Victorian distillery in Loretto, Kentucky, Bill Samuels, Sr., made the first 19 barrels of a totally new whisky, using pure, iron-free, limestone spring water and a mash consisting of yellow corn, barley and red winter wheat that, when aged-to-taste over the next six years, would become Maker's Mark bourbon. Mr. Samuels created a bourbon that brought "good taste" and "taste-good" together for the first time and, in so doing, heralded the modern era of bourbon. In 2010, in tribute to his father's spirit of innovation Bill Samuels, Jr., unveiled Maker's 46, a totally new bourbon which reflects the distinct character of Maker's Mark but has a bigger, bolder and full bodied taste that is luscious without any hint of bitterness. Today, Maker's Mark continues to hand make its bourbon exactly the same way Bill Samuels, Sr., did almost 60 years ago, in small batches by skilled craftsmen who hand-cut each label and hand-dip each bottle. Maker's Mark bourbon whisky (45% alc./vol.) and Maker's 46 (47% alc./vol.) are distilled, aged and bottled by the Maker's Mark Distillery, Inc., in Loretto, Kentucky. In 1980, the distillery was designated a National Historic Landmark, becoming the first distillery in America to be so recognized, and has also been decreed as the "world's oldest operating bourbon whisky distillery" by Guinness World Records. The Maker's Mark Distillery is one of the Commonwealth of Kentucky's most popular tourist destinations, attracting more than 100,000 visitors each year. For more information, please visit the Maker's Mark website (

Maker's Mark® Bourbon Whisky, 45% Alc./Vol.
© 2012 Maker's Mark Distillery, Inc, Loretto, KY


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