JACK DANIEL’S PROPERTIES, INC. v. VIP PRODUCTS LLC
USSC Case no. 22-148 Decided June 8, 2023
Jack Daniel's has emerged victorious in its legal battle over a dog toy that parodied its iconic liquor bottle. Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the liquor maker, allowing it to revive its trademark lawsuit against VIP Products in lower courts. The toy, called “Bad Spaniels Silly Squeaker,” was found not to be protected by first amendment free speech principles, and instead to be in violation of federal trademark law due to its similarities in shape and font style to Jack Daniel's bottles, as well as its use of scatological humor. Justice Kagan penned the opinion for a unanimous court, injecting a bit of humor at times. While the decision is a win for brand owners, it remains to be seen if the toy will ultimately be taken off the market.