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Musical legend a named defendant in IP infringement lawsuit

We're fairly confident in our guess that virtually all of our readers know Bob Dylan for his music. After all, Dylan is a global icon and legendary singer/songwriter who has been crafting memorable tunes for close to 60 years.

Forget musical offerings for a moment, though. Have you tried his whiskey?

Notably, Dylan is closely linked with various aged whiskies that have been on sale domestically since earlier in the spring. He has partnered with a proven industry entrepreneur in a business called Heaven's Door Spirits (you'll get the musical reference there if you are a Dylan fan). Dylan's presence with the company is multi-pronged via his professional persona, the song title reference and images of his personally authored artwork.

Notwithstanding his lofty stature, Dylan has certainly confronted various challenges during his musical career. He is now facing a new hurdle involving his business enterprise in the form of a lawsuit that relates to a fundamental issue.

That is the Heaven's Door name. Whisky rival Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc., claims that the latter entrant into the marketplace is unlawfully infringing upon its rights and sales through its name selection. Heaven Hill claims that consumers are reasonably confused by the two names. That "likelihood of confusion" issue is the key test in a trademark infringement lawsuit.

Heaven Hill just filed one of those against Heaven's Door in a federal court, seeking an injunction that would stop its competitor's marketing efforts and sales pending resolution.

Heaven's Door hardly seems cowed or about to back down. The company states that it has already vetted the name through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. It notes additionally that the plaintiff's effort to protect the word "heaven" spells legal overreach.

Heaven's Door stated earlier this week that Heaven Hill's filing is "completely without merit."

Time will soon tell on that, with above-cited federal court having the ultimate say in the matter.

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