On March 22, the US Supreme Court will hear arguments in Jack Daniel’s Properties, Inc. v. VIP Products LLC. In a case that pits trademark rights against free speech claims, Jack Daniel’s has sued VIP Products for trademark infringement due to VIP Products’ sale of a dog chew toy in the shape of a Jack Daniel’s bottle with a label replacing “Jack Daniel’s” with “Bad Spaniels” and engaging in other parodying of the Jack Daniel’s label in a manner referring to dog defecation. VIP Products takes the position that its parody should be protected under the First Amendment Freedom of Speech Clause. Jack Daniel’s view is that a company selling a commercial product that makes humorous use of the Jack Daniel’s brand should not be entitled to First Amendment protection.
I discovered in a store in Colorado that “Bad Spaniels” is just one of a line of dog toys parodying liquor brands:
ABOUT LAURA WINSTON
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Laura J. Winston is the chair of the firm’s Intellectual Property group. Ms. Winston focuses her law practice primarily in the areas of trademarks, copyrights and the internet, representing a broad range of both domestic and international clients from individual business owners and small startup ventures to established Fortune 500 and publicly traded companies.