Dismissal ends legal battle over Vancouver wine festival name

By Stephanie Rice, Columbian Vancouver city government reporter

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Several months after a federal judge suggested a solution to feuding organizers with similar-sounding festivals, organizers have taken his advice and agreed to drop a lawsuit.

Which means for a second year, "Craft Winefest of Vancouver," hosted by Choice Events, will be in Esther Short Park. The event runs June 20-22.

This past year, the event was marketed as "Vancouver Winefest." Bravo! Vancouver's Michael Kissinger, longtime organizer of the annual "Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival," sought a preliminary injunction against Cody Gray and Lucas Hoyle of Choice Events, which was granted.

In a June 12 order, U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton wrote, "The Judge likes Vancouver. The Judge likes wine. The Judge likes jazz. The Judge wants to encourage both events. The names, however, are too similar and will cause confusion. Defendants' event can use any name that does not sound or look like the following: Vancouver Wine Fest, Vancouver Winefest, Vancouver Craft Wine Fest, Vancouver Craft Winefest."

One suggestion, Leighton wrote, was "Craft Winefest of Vancouver," which was what Choice Events used last year.

The lawsuit wasn't dismissed, however, until Jan. 24. Attorneys acknowledged in court documents that all of the issues had been resolved, and agreed the case should be dismissed without either side awarded fees or costs.

Kissinger started the Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival in 1998, and Bravo owns a federal registration for the title.

In a statement released Monday, Gray said his June event has a "distinct local identity."

More than 40 wineries from Washington, several Vancouver restaurants and 10 Clark County craft breweries will participate in the Craft Winefest of Vancouver, according to the news release.

As part of the festival, Portland saxophonist Patrick Lamb will play at a Family Fun concert on June 20, which will include a no-alcohol zone and activities for all ages.

Tickets range from $5 to $15, depending on age and day. A $5 glass is required for tasting, and tasting tickets are $1 each. Proceeds will benefit the Arc of Southwest Washington.

The 2014 Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival, meanwhile, will be Aug. 21-24 in Esther Short Park.