Jack Daniel's to defend name against dog toy in US Supreme Court
Lawyers for distiller Jack Daniel's will take on a pet accessory maker in the highest US court on Wednesday. The famous whiskey brand claims that the “Bad Spaniels Silly Squeaker” dog toy with its poop-themed jokes violates federal trademark law, according to an entry on the US Supreme Court website.
The product in question, a squeaky toy by VIP Products LLC, bears a striking resemblance to Jack Daniel’s whiskey bottle, having virtually the same size, shape, a similar font style and a black label.
Jack Daniel’s “Old No. 7 Brand Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey” inspired VIP Products to create “The Old No. 2 On Your Tennessee Carpet,” a euphemism for an animal pooping.
The liquor bottle’s “40% ALC. BY VOL. (80 PROOF)” became “43% POO BY VOL.” and “100% SMELLY.”
According to an earlier ruling by the district court, the use of Jack Daniel's trademarks “to sell poop-themed dog toys was likely to confuse consumers, infringed Jack Daniel's marks, and tarnished Jack Daniel's reputation,” the Supreme Court’s release states.
The toy manufacturer later won an appeal, when the court ruled its use of Jack Daniel’s trademark was non-commercial and qualified as an "expressive work" protected by the US Constitution's First Amendment.
VIP Products make dog toys that parody roughly two dozen other liquor and soft-drink brands, such as Johnnie Walker and Coca-Cola.
According to Reuters, a ruling is expected by the end of June.
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