Iconic Whiskey Brand Takes Case Against Maker of Dog Toy to the Supreme Court
The iconic whiskey brand Jack Daniel’s is bringing a case to the U.S. Supreme Court involving the maker of a dog toy.
NPR reported Wednesday the whiskey company is seeking to stop the production and marketing of a dog toy known as Bad Spaniels.
The toy is shaped and looks like a Jack Daniel’s bottle.
It shows a spaniel on the label along with the name “Bad Spaniels” instead of Jack Daniel’s.
The label of the dog toy reads, “43% poo by volume, 100% smelly.”
The Supreme Court is taking up the case of Jack Daniels against a pet toy manufacturer for making a similar product to their Jack Daniel's bottle. Look at the photo and you'll see that it does not resemble it in any way shape or form. The pet toy company should sue. pic.twitter.com/HXWu8eRpUk
— Joby Budnack (@joby14212) November 22, 2022
NPR explained the bottle comes as part of a line of chewy dog toys called Silly Squeakers.
The product line reportedly mocks other famous brands and is made by VIP products.
VIP products is the country’s second-biggest manufacturer of dog toys, per NPR.
The company’s owner, Stephen Sacra, shared he got the idea for the product while out and looking at the Jack Daniel’s bottle.
He then called the graphic designer and said, “I got two words for you: Bad Spaniels.”
However, the whiskey company does not find the joke all that funny as the lawyer will argue the toy infringes on the trademark, as NPR reported.
“Jack Daniel’s loves dogs and appreciates a good joke as much as anyone. But Jack Daniel’s likes its customers even more, and doesn’t want them confused or associating its fine whiskey with dog poop,” the brief states.
VIP’s brief responds, “Freedom of speech begins with freedom to mock.”
The dog toy manufacturer’s lawyer Bennett Evan Cooper explained there is “no bottle of dog food being sold. It’s a pretend trademark on a pretend label for a pretend bottle full of pretend content. The entire thing is a parody.”
Cooper is also convinced consumers are not confused by the toys.
“The source of the confusion here is not that people think that this product comes from Jack Daniel’s, but the misimpression which hopefully we can clarify in this lawsuit, that you need the permission of somebody to parody them,” he said.
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