Nov 23, 2022

Supreme Spaniels or Daniels?

The US Supreme Court has agreed to hear Whiskey maker Jack Daniels’ trade mark case against squeaky dog toy maker, VIP Products after the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit sided with VIP Products in the matter back in 2020.

VIP Products sells dog toys which, amongst other stuff, mimic liquor, beer, and wine bottles. One of those bottles looks remarkably similar to Jack Daniels’ signature Old No. 7 Black Label Tennessee Whiskey bottle. The dog toy consists of a cartoon spaniel on the front and reads “Old No.2 on Your Tennessee Carpet”.

Jack Daniels claims the product is an infringement of its trade mark and could confuse consumers. The toy maker argues the product is actually an “expressive work” and is protected under the First Amendment. The First Amendment protects freedom of speech, the press, assembly, and the right to petition the Government for redress of grievances.

This isn’t the first time VIP Products have been sued for intellectual property infringement over one of its dog toys. In 2008, Anheuser-Busch InBev successfully sued VIP Products over a dog toy called “ButtWiper” which was a parody of its popular Budweiser beer.

The Supreme Court is to hear the case early next year. It is to be seen in whose favour the court will rule. If you have any questions on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the team at McDaniels Law on 0191 281 4000 or legal@mcdanielslaw.com.

in: Case Law, Companies, Consumer Law, Legal News, News, Passing Off, Trade Marks

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