Our recent posts discussed trademark infringement and the issue of counterfeits with regard to fashion labels. However, two weeks ago, a federal jury ruled on behalf of billionaire business mogul William Koch over counterfeit wine. Koch sued Eric Greenberg, founder of a slew of tech companies, for the sale of 24 bottles of wine at an auction in 2005. Koch paid a total of $320,000 for the bottles, and was awarded the amount he paid as well as an additional $1,000 a bottle in compensatory damages.
According to the lawsuit, Greenberg knew the wine bottles were bogus as they had been rejected by two other auction houses previously. Greenberg denied knowledge of fraudulence and shifted the blame on Zachys, the auction house that sold the bottles, claiming that he relied on them to verify their authenticity. Koch settled with Zachys in a separate suit for an undisclosed amount.
This particular incident was not the first that Koch was involved in and is certainly indicative of a developing trend. Wine fraud has become a huge problem in many markets over the past couple of decades. Similar to those responsible for the global production and distribution of counterfeit handbags, shoes, or clothing; the levels of sophistication of the wine counterfeiters continue to rise as new methods emerge.
While large counterfeit cases like this one may not be an everyday occurrence, they are just another example of trademark infringement. The Patterson Law Firm is experienced in dealing with trademark issues including infringement. Please click here to visit our site or call (312) 223-1699 to speak with one of our attorneys.