Kentucky Mist distillery says UK disputing trademark

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WHITESBURG, Ky. (WKYT/AP) - The owners of Kentucky Mist distillery say University of Kentucky attorneys have sent them a letter asserting the school owns the rights to the word "Kentucky."

The Mountain Eagle reports the certified letter from Lexington attorney Michael Hargis asks the distillery to abandon efforts to trademark the Kentucky Mist name and logo design for T-shirts or other clothing. The university asks Kentucky Mist to avoid using the mark in combination with the university's "source-identifying color schemes" or any other indicia associated with the university.

The letter, which is dated Oct. 12, says UK owns several registrations for its marks, including the mark "KENTUCKY" to identify itself on T-shirts and sweatshirts. It has used KENTUCKY "as a source identifier of its goods and services continuously since at least as early as 1997," according to the letter.

According to the letter, the University of Kentucky is prepared to oppose the trademark application and "will consider further action as it deems necessary."

"That said, we wish you well in your new endeavor and look forward to receiving written confirmation from you that the Class 25 goods have been deleted from the registration application preferably by the end of October," Hargis wrote. "If any portion of this letter is not clear, please contact me directly."

Kentucky Mist co-owner Colin Fultz says the distillery's attorney says it is necessary to respond to the letter. But Fultz says Kentucky Mist products and logos look nothing like the University's logos. He says the only possible similarity is a dark blue Koozie drink holder.

UK's letter to Kentucky Mist by WKYT

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