CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif., June 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- In vindication of the copyrights held by Kim Brandi,on June 11th, U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson denied Elements Spirits Inc.'s motion for preliminary injunction against founder Kim Brandi, the founder of KAH Tequila, and her company—Iconic® Brands (www.iconicbrandsinc.com). Elements sought an order restraining the sale of Iconic's Sangre de Vida Tequila and to quash Ms. Brandi's ability to send cease and desist letters to those who continue to sell KAH Tequila in bottles using Brandi's copyrighted calavera designs. Brandi's copyrights cover both the artwork and the sculpt of the skull-shaped bottle designs. The Court found that Elements failed to present evidence that it was likely to prevail on any of its claims against Brandi and Iconic.
Brandi and Iconic are represented by Jon B. Miller of Miller Johnson Law in San Diego (www.millerjohnsonlaw.com). "The ruling gives a green light to the continued domestic sale of Sangre de Vida Tequila," says Miller, "and anyone who continues to sell KAH Tequila would be well advised to read the Court's opinion."
According to the pleadings filed in the case, Brandi had agreed to a license arrangement with Elements, which Elements later breached. Brandi notified Elements of the breach and requested an accounting of why royalty payments had never been paid. In response, Elements filed suit in April, 2015, disclaiming Brandi's role as the creator of the product; questioning the validity of Brandi's copyrights; and suggesting that Elements held trade dress rights that were superior to Brandi's copyrights. The Court held that Elements cannot "evade copyright law" by placing copyrighted material into commerce and "appropriating" it as its own trademark.
In his decision, Judge Pregerson strongly questioned the validity of Elements' license for the "calaveras" design due to the multiple breaches of the contract with Brandi: "Under federal and state law a material breach of a licensing agreement gives rise to a right of rescission which allows the non-breaching party to terminate the agreement. After the agreement is terminated, any further distribution would constitute copyright infringement."
In a counterclaim filed last Friday, Brandi is seeking damages and a permanent injunction against Elements, Worldwide Beverage Imports (CA), Fabrica de Tequila Finos (MX), Wine Warehouse (CA) and Aveniu Brands (MD). All of the named parties continued to manufacture, import, sell, or market KAH Tequila after the license agreement was terminated and after receiving cease and desist letters from Brandi and Iconic.
About Sangre de Vida
Imported by Iconic Brands, Inc., Industry, CA and available in 750ml and 50ml. Each ornate Calavera bottle houses an unaged Blanco SRP $39.99; a 110 proof Reposado SRP $44.99, aged in American oak barrels for three months; and an Anejo, rested for 12 months SRP $49.99. Sangre de Vida Mezcal Reposado showcases the customary flavors of Oaxaca.
Sangre de Vida 110 Proof Reposado Tequila:
Double Gold award – 2015 Spirit Tasting Competition, 72nd annual Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) Convention
Best of Show – 2015 Spirit Tasting Competition, 72nd annual Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) Convention
Just as wine is to France, Tequila is the lifeblood of the people of Mexico. It is part of the fabric of their culture and life. From the company that delivers art from the inside and out, and the creator of the original hand painted skull tequila, comes Sangre de Vida. Just like its spirit inside, the folk art inspired facade itself embraces tradition, the spirit of Mexico, taking the untraveled path, living in the moment, celebration of life and celebrating the everyday victories, big or small.
For more information:
Kim Brandi, CEO
SOURCE Iconic Brands, Inc.