By Julia Cameron • 24 March 2023 • 10:11
Photo By chrisdorney at Shutterstock
Whiskey brand Jack Daniels is taking a Squeaky dog toy manufacturer to the US Supreme Court for an infringement against the trademark.
The Squeaky dog toy looks very similar to the famous whiskey bottle, although there are differences in the wording.
VIP Products LLC, the toy maker says the squeaky toy is an obvious parody and should be protected as free speech.
But Jack Daniels doesn’t see the joke. Lisa Blatt, attorney for Jack Daniels put in court papers “Jack Daniels loves dogs and appreciates a good joke as much as anyone. But Jack Daniels likes its customers even more, and doesn’t want them confused or associating its fine whiskey with dog poop.”
The attorney went on to say the toy company, which is based in Arizona was profiting “from Jack Daniels’ hard-earned goodwill.” She said they were confusing customers by getting them to associate Jack Daniels Whiskey with excrement.
The squeaky toy reads “43% poo by volume” and “100% smelly.” The toy company also produces toys which are similar to other popular brands of alcohol. The attorney representing the toy company said “The bad Spaniel Silly Squeaker is indisputably a good-faith (and successful) parody.”
Jack Daniels is depending on the Lanham Act which says a trademark cannot be used which will cause customer confusion. But the US constitution’s First Amendment protects forms of parody and satire as aspects of free speech.
The case has already been heard in a lower court which ruled in favour of the toy company and as a result, Jack Daniels is now seeking a further review in the Supreme Court.
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Julia is an ex-pat writer from Brighton living in a small village close to the Andalucian town of Priego de Cordoba. When she's not working she enjoys reading, tracing her ancestry and swimming. She especially loves the summer when she can get down to the coast and chill on the beach.
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