Supreme Court Will Hear Jack Daniel’s vs. Dog Chewy

Nov. 21, 2022
Brown-Forman says bottle-shaped dog toy “Bad Spaniels” infringes its trademark.

It’s mighty rare that a case involving a food or beverage company makes it to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the court has agreed to hear a trademark lawsuit over a chewable dog toy that mimics and parodies the Jack Daniel’s whiskey bottle.

Jack Daniel’s Properties, a Brown-Forman Corp. business unit, is suing VIP Products LLC, which makes a bottle-shaped toy that bears the label “Bad Spaniels,” replaces the enigmatic “Old No. 7” with “Old No. 2,” and makes other jokes about dogs pooping on the floor.

A number of media reported the nation’s highest court today (Nov. 21) agreed to hear the arguments that pit trademark rights against First Amendment claims and parody. A federal appeals court ruled that Jack Daniel’s couldn’t enforce its trademarks against the doggy toy maker, hence the appeal to SCOTUS.

The lower court ruling “guts Jack Daniel’s ability to protect its brand and paves the way for companies like respondent to unleash mass confusion in the marketplace,” the whiskey maker argued in its appeal, and as reported by Bloomberg News. The company has backing at the Supreme Court from Campbell Soup Co., Levi Strauss & Co. and Patagonia Inc., Bloomberg added.

About the Author

Dave Fusaro | Editor in Chief

Dave Fusaro has served as editor in chief of Food Processing magazine since 2003. Dave has 30 years experience in food & beverage industry journalism and has won several national ASBPE writing awards for his Food Processing stories. Dave has been interviewed on CNN, quoted in national newspapers and he authored a 200-page market research report on the milk industry. Formerly an award-winning newspaper reporter who specialized in business writing, he holds a BA in journalism from Marquette University. Prior to joining Food Processing, Dave was Editor-In-Chief of Dairy Foods and was Managing Editor of Prepared Foods.

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