Court weighs trademark on Maker's Mark wax seal

By BRETT BARROUQUERE | December 1, 2011 | 11:30 AM EST

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The dripping red wax seal atop a Maker's Mark bottle makes the bourbon stand out on shelves. Three federal judges are trying to decide whether the company can keep that distinction.

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati heard arguments Thursday over whether Maker's Mark can keep the trademark on the capper or if other liquor companies can use a similar seal.

Maker's Mark in 2010 won an order awarding it exclusive rights to the seal. Attorneys for London-based Diageo North America and Casa Cuervo of Mexico argued that wax seals have been used for centuries and Maker's Mark wasn't harmed by their use of it on a special bottle of tequila.

Maker's Mark attorneys said the company has a valid trademark on the wax seal.