Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 1.17.25 PMLast February, the Sazerac Company, owner of famed Kentucky bourbon Buffalo Trace, sued a rival for what it saw as a blatant case of trademark infringement. The case was recently dismissed in court, with no chance of ever being brought back, which probably makes for more than a few sad corporate bison back at the Sazerac mother herd.

The case, Sazerac Co. v. Intercontinental Packaging Co., was filed in the U.S. District Court, Louisville Division, on Feb. 28, 2014. Sazerac/Buffalo Trace accused Intercontinental of essentially ripping off its intellectual property in regards to the branding of its Bison Ridge Canadian Whisky and Bison Ridge Special Reserve Canadian Whisky.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 1.19.03 PMFor starters, Sazerac claimed they both feature a buffalo/bison facing forward. Also, the respective whiskeys were the same color, both were sold in clear bottles, and both featured color combinations of brown, white and gold.

The case was dismissed with prejudice on Feb. 6. In addition, each party will bear their own attorneys’ fees and costs.

IL called Elisabeth Gray, an attorney at Middleton Reutlinger who represented Intercontinental, for additional comment. She declined, as there is a strict confidentiality agreement.

IL also called Peter Willsay, attorney for Sazerac, but has not heard back. A spokesperson for Buffalo Trace had no comment.

David Serchuk is a staff writer at Insider Louisville. He is a former editor at, and an ex-reporter at Forbes magazine. He's written for NPR,, New York, Pittsburgh, Louisville and other publications named for places. He enjoys writing about business, music and other things as well.


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