An Ohio winery is attempting to use Prince‘s lifelong disdain for alcohol as a defense in a copyright trial over its “Purple Rain” line of wine. In court filings obtained by Rolling Stone, L’uva Bella counterintuitively contends that because “Prince was a teetotaler who despised alcohol,” consumers would not assume that the wine was affiliated with Prince and, as such, the artist’s estate should not be able to move for its trademark to be stripped.
“To the extent Prince was famous, he was equally famous for his disdain of alcohol,” lawyers for the Lewisville winery just outside Youngstown wrote in a new motion filed with the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. “Prince never lent his name to any product or enterprise during his lifetime, and never endorsed or promoted any products, let alone any products bearing the name ‘Purple Rain.’ The fans of Prince, knowledgeable about his beliefs and views, would never associate an alcohol-containing product with the artist.”
The dispute dates back to last summer when lawyers for Prince’s estate filed for the cancellation of L’uva Bella’s trademark of “Purple Rain” with the U.S. Patent Office. The business received the patent in 2019 and had been using the name since 2015, according to filings per WKBN. The Purple Rain wine series, which shares its name with Prince’s 1984 Oscar-winning film, sixth album, and Billboard Number 1 single, encompasses a red concord with plans for a sangria and rosé tri-blend.
The estate of the late musician, who died of an accidental overdose in 2016, filed suit in August 2019 citing a “likelihood of confusion” and “false suggestion of a connection” with the singer-songwriter.
“‘Purple Rain’ is Prince’s most famous song, album, tour, movie, etc., and there can be no doubt that ‘Purple Rain’ signifies Prince. Prince is also undisputedly one of the most famous musicians of all time,” lawyers for the estate argued.
Purple Rain Concord currently remains available for $7.99 a bottle.