This week, in unusual court rulings: Any liquor bottle topped with dripping red wax must be Maker's Mark, per the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals. It ruled on Wednesday that the Kentucky-made bourbon is the only brand permitted to carry the distinctive seal. The AP reports that Diageo North America and Casa Cuervo of Mexico has been using a similar red seal on select bottles of its Reserva tequila, leading Maker's Mark to sue over the trademarked topper in 2003. Cuervo dropped the dripped wax seal ... six years ago.
But the case didn't officially end until this week, with a 19-page opinion affirming an injunction Maker's Mark received in 2010 that stopped other liquor companies from using the seal. According to the opinion, "there is more than one way to seal a bottle with wax to make it look appealing. ... We conclude that there is a likelihood of confusion between the products and that Cuervo has infringed." The Samuels family created Maker's Mark in 1958, and the seal was perfected by Margie Samuels using the family's deep fryer; each bottle is individually dipped to this day. The seal serves no practical purpose in keeping the bottle closed.