SCOW: Liquor Initiative Upheld 5-4 (in a boring series of opinions)

So as you probably already know, the Washington Supreme Court upheld I-1183, the liquor privatization initiative, in Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention v. State of Washington (Wash., May 31, 2012). While the decision is politically and practically important, I’ve gotta say that I don’t think the opinions themselves are that interesting legally. I mean, it’s sort of a judgment call whether the various parts of the initiative are sufficiently related to be a “single subject” or whether the title of the initiative is descriptive enough to satisfy the “subject-in-title” rule. Some judges would call it one way, some would call it the other, but there’s not much more to it than that.

But hey, I don’t do this for me, I do it for the people! So here are some thoughts on the three (yes, three!) decisions, starting with the opinion of the Court: Continue reading

Your Whiskey Is Safe From Infringers!

Okay, so this story (courtesy of the WSJ Law Blog) has nothing to do with Washington law, but it does have to do with civil litigation generally, and it also has something to do with whiskey. As a former (and future?) civil litigator, I know that civil litigators love whiskey, so I thought you might be interested.

As you may know, Makers Mark is the official whiskey of Ziff Blog. (Yes, I am hoping this endorsement gets me some free whiskey.) Well, they’ve been involved in some trademark litigation recently. For those of you who drink Makers, you know there’s a nice little wax seal on the bottle. Apparently, the folks at Jose Cuervo recently started selling a “premium” tequila in the United States that also had a nice little wax seal (although I am sure it was not as nice). So Makers Mark sued — and won. Now Cuervo can no longer use the wax seal. Huzzah!