Jack Daniel’s Properties v. v. VIP Products (Supreme Court 2022)

Link to the docket: https://www.supremecourt.gov/search.aspx?filename=/docket/docketfiles/html/public/22-148.html

Happy thanksgiving everyone.

 

29 thoughts on “Jack Daniel’s Properties v. v. VIP Products (Supreme Court 2022)

  1. 7

    What’s a “Tennessee carpet”?

    1. 7.1

      I expect that it is just any carpet located in Tennessee.

      1. 7.1.1

        Greg hides another plainly wrong propaganda message here (hyperlink of but a few innocuous characters).

        No Greg, it is NEITHER wrong to mention when both sides are in error, and it is certainly the Left that is FAR more in error in current circumstances.

        I wonder though, just who are you “signaling” with these ‘stealth’ posts?

  2. 5

    Reminds me of W a c k y Packages.

    1. 5.1

      That brings back memories!

  3. 4

    Thank goodness the Supreme Court is not declining to spend its limited time to address the most important intellectual property questions confronting the nation — such as whether reasonable shoppers are adequately protected from the possibility of mistaking bottles of novelty dog shampoo for bottles of widely-known brands of whiskey.

    1. 4.1

      Aside from my pal Chrissy’s humor, the other product is not a shampoo.

      It is not a product for humans at all, but rather a chew toy for dogs.

      1. 4.1.1

        That bottle shape is like 99% of the orig. What if this were a Coke(TM) bottle case ? I bet the Cola company would win, on bottle shape alone, regardless of any humorous statements or intent on the label. I’m surprised trade dress wasn’t mentioned as one of the issues but I need to read more, its out of my space. As far as source of goods goes, I could see where some might associate the knockoff with the JD Distillery Co., since JD licenses that shape for key fobs, t-shirts, etc. Would an ordinarily-observing jurist seeing at the bottle shape be inclined to associate the item with JD, or would they need to be suggested it ?

        Dilution, yep, even JD has published cocktail recipes with exact instructions on dilution…. nyuk nyuk.

        1. 4.1.1.1

          Sure — IF trade dress was a contested item (but that is not a fact present, now is it?)

          1. 4.1.1.1.1

            Its clear from the petition, the two questions. I thought it was excellent, outlining the diff. positions of the lower courts. How will it go nobody knows, but if the famous recent Google fair-use copyright case is any indication, it might be expected? that the decision will be more restrictive of the rights of marks owners. It appears JD’s marks have a high level of distinctiveness, so I wonder as an aside, are marks having more distinctiveness easier or harder to dilute by tarnish than marks having a lower degree of distinctiveness ?

            1. 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Chrissy,

              How do you draw a lesson from the world of copyright to the particulars of the present trademark case?

              (curious as to your processing)

              1. 4.1.1.1.1.1.1

                Pam, many seem to believe we’ve witnessed a trend towards more narrowly defining the scope of some patent rights, and many commented negatively on the Goog case w/resp to what was fair-use, so is it by extension reasonable to maybe expect a similar trend w/resp to tm’s ? I try to look for trends sometimes, since all 3 can involve private property rights. We’ll see, I look forward to their opinion.

                1. Pam….?

                  But really, your reasoning is “it’s IP.”

                  Fair enough.

                  New question: who do you think Greg is signaling with his “almost hidden” hyperlinks?

              2. 4.1.1.1.1.1.2

                I mentioned “trends” below, and it seems obvious that many opinions delivered relating to IP whether pat, tm, or (C), have resulted in dimunition of American property rights, seemingly moreso since the AIA was allegedly made law. A Co. like JD is in a niche’ market, and their corporate marks and distinguishing features are all they have. Compare to Pelosico and others who own 50+ brands of commercial importance. To Pepsico, one mark is nichts, but to JD, one mark or tiny estate is everything. TM, trade dress, bottle design is all the LittleCo. has. Part of me says that knockoff product is a malicious libel of the mark of a corporate personhood. A TM for a small company is much more important to them, and a rightful Court should recognize that and be biased presumptively to rule in favor of JD, if there’s any iota of Americanism left in them. 🙂 The trend predicts, the little guy will lose.

                1. While I certainly applaud your view that such rights should NOT be subject to diminution, I would posit that ALL rights (regardless of size of current entity holder) should be maintained at the same (high) value.

                  One of the foundation pieces of the US Intellectual Property system was that — as property — such IS (and should be) fully alienable.

                  Making substantive legal rights contingent on “size of entity” is thus not only a mistake (as a matter of principle), it is simple legal error.

  4. 3

    Indeed, many would be likely to confuse the two. Why, just the other day I went to the liqour store hoping to get some rug shampoo and boy was I disappointed when that smelly stuff didn’t even froth when I put it in the machine. :)) Happy Holiday to ya awl’, we’re having green chili beef ribs, mmmm, trade secret recipe !

  5. 2

    Not my area, but I could easily see the court asking a simple question of, “Does your trademark registration include the category of dog chew toys?”

    1. 2.1

      The issue is more dilution than infringement. And I kind of buy Jack Daniels being a famous mark

      1. 2.1.1

        I am no expert. That’s for sure. But I thought dilution, not infringement, was the problem here, if any.

        1. 2.1.1.1

          Exactly. The cert. petition makes this clear when it phrases the second question presented “[w]hether humorous use of another’s mark as one’s own on a commercial product is ‘noncommercial’ under 15 U.S.C. § 1125(c)(3)(C), thus barring as a matter of law a claim of dilution by tarnishment under the Trademark Dilution Revision Act,” (emphasis added).

          1. 2.1.1.1.1

            Greg continues to sneak propaganda messages into his attempted “hidden” hyperlinks.

            (because somehow the natural result of the ri0ts and Liberal Left “Defund the Police” did “not” result in more violent crime …

        2. 2.1.1.2

          Still have to ask, “of what?”

          Not even famous marks are geared to unlimited products, now are they?

          1. 2.1.1.2.1

            Supplemental question:

            Has the holder of the famous mark shown any proclivity outside of its (narrow) listed set of goods?

        3. 2.1.1.3

          > I am no expert. That’s for sure. But I thought dilution,
          > not infringement, was the problem here, if any.

          No, the problem here is both, two questions were presented. The first question relates specifically to standard Lanham Act trademark infringement claims, and the second to dilution claims. The lower court specifically found likelihood of confusion, so Jack Daniels does have a viable infringement claim that doesn’t depend on tarnishment/dilution.

          The first question is somewhat important because unlike dilution, there’s no statutory “parody” defense to trademark infringement.

          1. 2.1.1.3.1

            Thanks LR,

            Truthfully, whenever the blog “dips” into TM land, it is usually a “slow day,” and it as just not that interesting to even go to the extent of reading the case.

            Hard to believe that a likelihood of confusion was found though. Say La Vee.

      2. 2.1.2

        OC,

        Thanks for the reply.

        I may be being too subtle here.

        While I recognize a difference between infringement and dilution, the question remains: dilution of WHAT exactly?

        Unlike other forms of intellectual property protection, trademark does NOT deal with exclusive rights (and is derived from the Commerce Clause – an altogether different Constitutional directive).

        As such, Trademark carries a much more heavy emphasis on actual product. Additionally, the protection of consumers is a vector that is present (and can weigh against a manufacturer).

        Your point of famous marks is a good one. I would hesitate though to allow a single manufacturer — even a famous one – to be able to extend BEYOND the products to which the fame has attached.

        So my simple question may well be (and in my view, should be) determinative. Fame (for one product) is NOT an open license to keep others from profiting in the markets of different products.

  6. 1

    There is a definite possibility of consumer confusion- if the consumer(s) are blind drunk.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You can click here to Subscribe without commenting

Add a picture