Reuters — Salvatore Ferragamo SpA, the Italian luxury goods maker, on Wednesday sued former Montreal Alouettes and Los Angeles Rams quarterback Vince Ferragamo, saying he infringed its trademarks by operating his namesake winery in southern California.
Consumers are likely to be confused into thinking the Ferragamo Winery and Ferragamo SpA are related, the Italian company said in a complaint filed in federal court in Manhattan, where it has stores on Fifth Avenue and elsewhere.
The former National Football League and Canadian Football League player was accused of illegally selling wine with the Tenuta di Ferragamo name, and festooning the website for his winery with images of Tuscany and Italian countryside, even though it’s located in Orange Park Acres, east of Anaheim.
Ferragamo SpA also challenged Vince Ferragamo’s registration of his internet domain name through his company Touchdown Real Estate.
“The defendants are likely to cause consumer confusion with the plaintiff, as well as to dilute the plaintiff’s trademarks, which include two federally registered trademarks for wine,” Ferragamo SpA said. “The defendants’ acts have caused, and will continue to cause, irreparable injury to Salvatore Ferragamo.”
A lawyer for Ferragamo Winery and Vince Ferragamo did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The lawsuit seeks to halt any infringements, recoup triple damages and alleged illegal profits from wine sales, and have wine bearing the Tenuta di Ferragamo name thrown out.
The Ferragamo family in Italy also has a winery in Tuscany, known as Il Borro.
Vince Ferragamo played professional football from 1977 to 1986, and aside from the Rams also played for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers. He came to the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes for one season in 1981 before returning to the Rams.
He was the Rams’ quarterback in Super Bowl XIV in 1980, which was won by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Ferragamo began making wine in 2010, and uses the sangiovese and cabernet sauvignon grapes to produce “Caressa J,” named for his three daughters. It sells for US$59 a bottle.
— Reporting for Reuters by Jonathan Stempel in New York; additional reporting by Giulia Segreti in Milan.