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Your source for news, updates and guidance on all things trademarks and intellectual property.

Alt Legal Webinar: See Your Practice through Rosé-Colored Glasses: Brand Protection for Wine Lawyers

Alt Legal Team | May 26, 2021
4 min read

The United States has over 10,000 wineries, and that number and the overall production both increase each year. Each offers its wines under a brand name, and often also with a “fanciful name,” creating numerous branding opportunities – and headaches. Clients in the wine industry face particular challenges and have additional needs when developing and protecting their brands and related intellectual property. A complex web of federal and state laws governs how and where wine products may be distributed and sold, and industry rules and practices also affect how and to whom they are marketed and advertised. A lawyer developing a wine IP practice must keep the special nature of these laws and practices in mind when counseling clients on developing, promoting, protecting, and monetizing their wine brands.

In this webinar, Laurie E. Hall of Synthesis Law moderates a panel discussion with lawyers at two of the largest wine producers in the United States: Simone M. Katz-O’Neill (Director & Senior Corporate Counsel at Delicato Family Wines) and Kathy Letourneau (Senior IP Counsel, Americas at Treasury Wine Estates). The panelists discuss special considerations for advising clients in the wine industry, including in the following areas:

  • Selecting and clearing wine trademarks in an increasingly overcrowded field

  • Registering, enforcing, and defending wine trademarks

  • Wine labeling

  • Marketing and advertising wine products

View recording here (registration required).

You can download all of the webinar materials here.


  • Here’s a COLA explanation

  • I discuss the avoidance of AVA names when selecting marks in my article at this link. (Thanks, Susan Latham!)

  • Alt Legal webinar featuring speaker Ed Timberlake on conducting advanced TESS searches.

  • For more about coordinated classes, check out this article.

  • You can check the list of established AVA names here to avoid geographical names here. (Thanks, Susan Latham!)

  • See Ad Code. (Thanks, Laurie Hall!)

  • Here’s an article about using consent agreements to overcome 2(d) refusals.

Speaker Bios:

Laurie Hall, Founder of Synthesis Law

Laurie E. Hall founded Synthesis Law to help individuals and companies of all sizes build their businesses and develop and protect their brands and other intellectual property. For over 25 years, she has represented and advised clients in a wide range of industries, including wine, food, apparel, biotech, and entertainment. Laurie previously served as in-house IP and business counsel for The Wine Group, a partner at the international law firm Duane Morris LLP, and a professor of U.S. trademark law at the Golden Gate University School of Law. When not geeking out on trademarks, copyrights, and other brand-related IP, Laurie is trying to design the labels for her homemade 2019 petite sirah, hiking the East Bay hills, and pursuing an associate degree in French.

Simone Katz-O’Neill, Director & Senior Corporate Counsel at Delicato Family Wines

Simone Katz-O’Neill is the Director & Senior Corporate Counsel at Delicato Family Wines. She focuses on managing and protecting Delicato’s growing trademark portfolio and advising the company on its contract needs. Prior to joining Delicato, Simone worked in private practice in San Francisco, first at Shartsis Friese LLP where she concentrated on intellectual property counseling and business litigation, and then at Sideman & Bancroft LLP, where she worked in intellectual property counseling and enforcement. She has advised clients in a variety of industries, including the food and wine, clothing, art, consumer electronics, computer software, and e-commerce industries. She was selected by Super Lawyers Magazine as a 2014 and 2013 Northern California Rising Star. A Bay Area native, she currently lives in Napa with her husband and children. In her free time (if she has any!), she loves to walk, run, swim, play the piano, garden, and bake.

Kathy Letourneau, Senior IP counsel at Treasury Wine Estates Americas

Kathleen E. Letourneau is the Senior IP counsel at Treasury Wine Estates Americas. Kathy joined the team in 2019 and manages clearance, prosecution and enforcement for TWE’s extensive trademark portfolio. She advises cross-functional teams on a broad range of issues including advertising, product innovation, IP licensing and contests/sweepstakes for some of the world’s most iconic wine brands. Prior to going in-house, Kathy worked for over a decade at the boutique law firm Owen, Wickersham & Erickson in San Francisco, a wine trademark law pioneer. When she’s not pouring over wine brands, this Miami native enjoys discovering beach spots with her husband and three kids and staying up way too late reading.

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