The Natural Wine Movement and Trademarks

Trademark law generally prevents businesses from appropriating descriptive terms as part of their trademark. In the Food and Beverage Industry (FBI), this is illustrated by how the term "organic" is often treated. For example, when trying to protect a group of words that include "organic", the applicant must often disclaim that part of the mark due it being considered descriptive. 

With the recent explosion of the natural wine movement, many in the wine industry may be looking to protect marks for these products and may want to incorporate terms like natural or organic into their branding. While many will likely have to disclaim such terms, there may be other options to those that enter the market at this early stage of development of this new wine category.

Specifically, before terms have well-understood meanings in the market, there may be creative ways to carve out protection specific to the wine industry and forward looking TM counsel should not automatically discount such terms. 

It will be interesting to watch the market development of this new wine category and whether it can truly develop into a major force in the industry.