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A federal judge in Kentucky ordered makers of a fledgling bourbon to change its name because it too closely resembles that of a brand that has been on the market longer and is a leader in the super premium bourbon category. U.S. District Judge Jennifer Coffman also ordered the new bourbon’s maker, Barton Inc., on Friday to tell retailers to remove any Ridgewood Reserve 1792 stocked after the lawsuit was filed last fall. Brown-Forman Corp. had argued in its trademark suit that consumers were confusing Barton’s Ridgewood Reserve, launched last fall, with the Louisville company’s Woodford Reserve, a super premium bourbon on the market since 1996. “You’re going to have to change your name,” Coffman said to attorneys for Barton, which is based in Chicago. Coffman ruled that Barton intended to copy the name of Woodford Reserve for its new product. She said it was reasonable that consumers could confuse Ridgewood Reserve 1792 with Woodford Reserve, and ordered Barton to change the name on any new bottles that contain the bourbon. Coffman said Barton can sell any remaining inventory that was stocked before the lawsuit was filed, but only in Kentucky. Barton bottles the Ridgewood Reserve in Bardstown. It is sold in four states, including Kentucky. Woodford Reserve is one of the top sellers in the expensive super premium niche. Brown-Forman officials said they were eager to protect the name. “It serves notice to anybody in the industry that Brown-Forman is going to be aggressive in protecting its trademark,” said Phil Lynch, a spokesman for the company. Attorneys for Barton declined comment after the ruling. Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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