The dripping wax red seal of Maker’s Mark is on trial right now, with three federal judges deciding whether the company can trademark the distinct bottle feature.
Past issues with the seal have occurred for the company, said The Associated Press. Casa Cuervo of Mexico began using a dripping wax seal on its bottles in 1997. Maker’s Mark sued Cuervo over the seal in 2003, and Casa Cuervo stopped using wax in its seals six years ago.
A bottle of Cuervo’s wax-sealed liquor was referred to in the current court hearings, with Judge Karen Nelson Moore saying that consumers might logically assume the competing liquors were made by the same company, despite their large price difference.
Bringing a patina of celebrity to the case was Maker’s Mark’s attorney, Edward T. Colbert, brother of famed comedian Stephen Colbert, according to the AP. A Washington, D.C.-based intellectual property attorney, Colbert argued that the Maker's Mark seal is used for marketing and serves to distinguish the liquor from its competitors.