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Supreme Court to hear Jack Daniel’s trademark case against dog toy company

Jack Daniel’s, Tennessee whiskey.

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The Supreme Court has agreed to take up a trademark case centering on a squeaky dog ​​toy that’s “43% Poo by Vol.” and “100% smelly”.

The court agreed on Monday to hear whiskey maker Jack Daniel’s trademark dispute against VIP Products, an Arizona-based company that sells products that mimic liquor, beer, wine and soda bottles.

The toy in question, dubbed the Bad Spaniels Silly Squeaker, bears a strong resemblance to Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Black Label Tennessee whiskey bottle. It features a cartoon spaniel on the front and references to Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7, such as the “Old No. 2 on Your Tennessee Carpet” tag.

The toy retails online for around $17 and notes on the packaging in fine print: “This product is not affiliated with Jack Daniel Distillery,” according to the Associated Press.

Jack Daniel’s argues that VIP Products violates federal trademark law and could confuse buyers, while VIP Products argues that the toy is an “expressive work” under First Amendment protections.

In a 2020 decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit sided with VIP products, prompting Jack Daniel’s to seek further relief from the Supreme Court. The court will likely hear arguments in the Jack Daniel’s case early next year.

VIP Products also sells parodies of other popular liquor bottles, including “Stella Arpaw”, which mimics the designs of brewer Stella Artois, and “HeineSniff’n”, which resembles Heineken.

In 2008, VIP Products lost a similar case brought by Budweiser maker Anheuser-Busch, which sued the company over a toy labeled “ButtWiper”.

VIP declined to comment on Tuesday due to ongoing litigation. Representatives for Jack Daniel’s did not immediately respond to request for comment.


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