Australian wine manufacturer Yellow Tail, which previously sued wine industry mega-villain Fred Franzia for the unauthorized use of parentheses, continues its crusade to make the world a safer place for mass-market brands. Casella Wines, which owns Yellow Tail, is now suing The Wine Group, producer of Little Roo wines, for putting a wallaby on the wine’s label.
That’s right: Australians are suing each other over who owns the rights to the large, bouncing rodent that is to Australia what the bald eagle is to the United States.
Wine Group lawyers decided against responding directly to the charge (by saying, for example, “Screw you”), instead borrowing a slippery move from my adolescent son and insisting that the wallaby on the label is, in fact, an eastern gray bush kangaroo. It is a distinction without a difference to everyone in the world but the Wine Group’s lawyers, who someone think that it will get them off the hook.
So now we’re going to have an argument about whether people understand the difference between kangaroos and wallabies. The medium of communication in the argument will be press releases and court briefs. Those making the arguments will do so with a straight face.
The argument will go on just long enough for Little Roo to unload its existing inventory. During that time, they’ll redesign the label so that even Casella’s aggressive protectors of the Yellow Tail brand can’t object. My guess: they’ll face the wallaby kangaroo the other way.
And thus millions of dollars and a good portion of the lives of dozens of highly educated attorneys on two continents make the world a better place.