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Jack Daniel’s files TM suit against ‘inferior’ whiskey companies

Post Time:2018-04-24 Source:WIPR Author: Views:

Whiskey brand Jack Daniel’s has accused two Texas-based alcohol companies of diluting its trademarks and trade dress by using it on “inferior” whiskey products.

Jack Daniel’s filed the complaint at the US District Court for the Northern District of California on Friday, April 20.

The claim said the Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey is “one of the oldest, longest-selling, and most iconic consumer products in American history”.

According to the complaint two Texas-based alcohol companies are producing bourbon whiskies, including Tennessee sour mash. Dynasty Spirits and Buffalo Bayou Distilleries (doing business as Gulf Coast Distilleries) allegedly sell the beverages under the trade dress of Jack Daniel’s.

By using the signature trade dress of Jack Daniel’s they have “pursued a pattern of conduct and an intentional business strategy designed to mislead and deceive customers”, the complaint said.

Jack Daniel’s whiskey is sold in packaging bearing a particular square design and featuring the phrases ‘Old No. 7’, ‘Jack Daniel’s’, ‘Tennessee’, and ‘sour mash whiskey’ in script. Jack Daniel’s alleged that its distinct style has “conveyed a consistent commercial impression for many decades”.

The three-dimensional square bottle is registered as US trademark number 4,106,178 and the black figurative mark featuring the above names as number 4,106,179.

Jack Daniel’s said the whiskies produced by Dynasty and Buffalo Bayou are sold in a square bottle bearing a black label with the words ‘whiskey’ and ‘Tennessee sour mash’ in script.

In addition, the complaint said they advertise and sell their products via the same channels to the same classes of customers as Jack Daniel’s.

The whiskey brand alleged that Dynasty and Buffalo Bayou “unlawfully marketed” their whiskey through trade dress misrepresentation; they reportedly instructed retailers to display their products next to those of Jack Daniel’s and to use promotional materials which reflect the Jack Daniel’s trade dress.

Jack Daniel’s claimed that Dynasty and Buffalo Bayou’s whiskey has received “highly critical customer reviews indicating that said product is of inferior quality”, so its trademarks and trade dress will be diluted by tarnishment.

The whiskey brand has requested injunctive relief and triple damages, including legal costs, for trademark infringement, trademark dilution, trade dress infringement, trade dress dilution, false advertising, and unfair competition.

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