A federal appeals court has ruled that Maker’s Mark holds the trademark on the dripping wax seal atop its bottles. 

The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld a lower court ruling granting the Kentucky bourbon maker a trademark on the seal, which serves decorative purposes only.

The decision comes in a case brought by London-based Diageo North America and Casa Cuervo of Mexico, which used a dripping red wax seal on special bottles of its Reserva tequila.

U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn II had earlier granted Maker’s Mark’s request for an injunction stopping other liquor companies from using the seal.

Judge Boyce Martin wrote for the court that “there is more than one way to seal a bottle with wax to make it look appealing.”

(Jose Cuervo tequila photo from 

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation."