A dispute between Jack Daniel’s and the makers of a squeaking dog toy that mimics the whiskey’s signature bottle with a toilet-themed pun has gone to the US Supreme Court.

The court discussed whether the toy firm breached Jack Daniel’s trademarks. The poop-themed dog toy resembling the bottle of the alcoholic beverage had the court’s justices chuckling as they explored how much protection should be given to those that rip off other brands. The case involved a “Bad Spaniels Silly Squeaker” toy created by VIP Products – which had many similarities to Jack Daniel’s bottles.

During the court case, it was unclear from the arguments whether Jack Daniel’s case was on the rocks or whether the makers of the Bad Spaniels were in trouble.

Justice Samuel Alito expressed scepticism with Jack Daniel’s arguments. “Could any reasonable person think that Jack Daniel’s had approved this use of the mark?” he asked at one point, suggesting the toy was an unmistakable parody and legally acceptable. Funny or not, Jack Daniel’s was not amused.

“Jack Daniel’s loves dogs and appreciates a good joke as much as anyone,” wrote the company’s lawyer Lisa Blatt in a filing with the high court. “But Jack Daniel’s likes its customers even more and doesn’t want them confused or associating its fine whiskey with dog poop.” Jack Daniel’s has since received the support of US President Joe Biden’s administration and major firms, including Nike, Campbell Soup Company, Patagonia and Levi Strauss.                           


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