Jack Daniel's Goes to Sup. Court Over Bad Spaniels Dog Toy
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Irate Jack Daniel’s Asks Supreme Court to Hear Case Against Maker of Dog Toy That Parodies Whiskey Bottle With ‘Poop Humor’

Bad Spaniels

Jack Daniel’s isn’t happy with VIP Products’ “Bad Spaniels” toy — a parody of the Tennessee whiskey company’s core product.

American whiskey behemoth Jack Daniel’s is pursuing legal action against VIP Products, the Arizona-based maker of a dog toy that parodies Jack Daniel’s flagship bottle.

Jack Daniel’s asked Supreme Court justices to hear its case against the manufacturer of the plastic Bad Spaniels toy.

Major companies including the makers of Campbell Soup, outdoor brand Patagonia and jeans maker Levi Strauss have urged the justices to take what they say is an important case for trademark law, according to The Associated Press.

The squeaking toy, Bad Spaniels, employs “poop humor,” according to The Associated Press. The toy includes the words “This product is not affiliated with Jack Daniel Distillery.”

The parody toy replaces the original bottle’s “Old No. 7 brand” and “Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey” with “The Old No. 2 on Your Tennessee Carpet.” It also swaps out the original bottle’s 40% ABV marker with “43% Poo by Vol.” and “100% Smelly.”

“It is ironic that America’s leading distiller of whiskey both lacks a sense of humor and does not recognize when it — and everyone else — has had enough,” lawyers for VIP Products wrote to the Supreme Court, per the Associated Press. The lawyers also told the justices that Jack Daniel’s has “waged war” against the company for “having the temerity to produce a pun-filled parody.”

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Lisa Blatt, the lead attorney for Jack Daniel’s parent company Brown-Forman, argues that this goes beyond the company not having a sense of humor.

“To be sure, everyone likes a good joke. But VIP’s profit-motivated ‘joke’ confuses consumers by taking advantage of Jack Daniel’s hard-earned goodwill,” Blatt wrote.

Blatt argued that products like this could serve as precedents that would deem more serious confusing products acceptable.

“Other funny infringers can do the same with juice boxes or marijuana-infused candy,” she said.

The toy is part of a line of VIP Products’ Silly Squeakers line, which mimics liquor, beer, wine and soda bottles. They include Mountain Drool, which parodies Mountain Dew, and Smella Arpaw, which parodies Stella Artois.

In 2008, a court ordered VIP Products to stop selling its Budweiser parody, ButtWiper.

In 2007, Louis Vuitton unsuccessfully tried to sue the maker of a “Chewy Vuiton” dog toy.

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David Morrow is the managing editor of Whiskey Raiders and has been with the company since September 2021. David has worked in journalism since 2015 and has had bylines at Sports Illustrated, Def Pen, the Des Moines Register and the Quad City Times. David holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Saint Louis University and a Master of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. When he’s not tasting the newest exciting whiskey releases, David enjoys spending time with his wife and dog, watching sports and traveling.