Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Tale of the Two Wine Label Tulips

HEMA is a leading Dutch discount retailer selling household goods. As part of its range, it sells the South African Kleintuin wine. The label features a red tulip.

Slight problem - the label closely resembles those on the bottles of artisan winemaker and TV show host Ilja Gort.

His tulip brands his La Tulipe wine since 1997. It was painted by his then 6-year-old son. 

Mr. Gort was upset when he saw HEMA's wine abel and claimed that the discount retailer was trying to cash in on his success.

His lawyer sent a cease-and-desist letter; originally without success. When Mr. Gort threatened to take HEMA to court, the retailer finally responded. HEMA announced that it would pull all bottles with the disputed label.

The retailer also emphasized that it “never intended to copy the wines of Mr. Gort” and that it would redesign the labels “to avoid any confusion in the future.”

Mr. Gort would have won the court case. His La Tulipe wine has been winning international awards for years. Any confusion with the HEMA’s table wine would harm the exclusive La Tulipe brand.

Gort also uses another drawing of his then 8-year-old son. The kid's painted rose features on the label of the Tulipe de la Garde wines. In 2000, Dutch painter Jan Cremer sued Gort claiming that he was the original artist of that rose design and never got royalties. The case was dismissed by the District Court of Utrecht.

(Image courtesy of

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