SCOTUS heard the case of Jack Daniel's versus the squeaky dog toy.

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The US Supreme Court will hear a case between whiskey brand Jack Daniel's and a company that made a lookalike squeaky toy for dogs. The dog toy says "Old No. 2 on your Tennessee Carpet", while the whiskey bottle reads "Old No. 7 Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey". Jack Daniel's claims the toy infringes on its trademark. But the toy maker says it is an obvious parody and should be protected as free speech. "Freedom of speech begins with freedom to mock," said the toy company, VIP Products LLC, in court documents. But Jack Daniel's said the joke just is not funny. "Jack Daniel's loves dogs and appreciates a good joke as much as anyone. But Jack Daniel's likes its customers even more, and doesn't want them confused or associating its fine whiskey with dog poop," Lisa Blatt, attorney for Jack Daniel's, wrote in court papers.

The filing continued to say the Arizona toy company was profiting "from Jack Daniel's hard-earned goodwill" and confusing consumers, by getting them to "associate Jack Daniel's whiskey with excrement". The toy costs about $20 (£16). The bottle of liquor says "40% alcohol by volume", while the "Bad Spaniels Silly Squeaker" chew toy reads "43% poo by volume" and "100% Smelly". The company also produces other similar toys that resemble other notable alcohol and soda brands.

The case centres on the Lanham Act, which prohibits using a trademark that can cause customer confusion, and the US Constitution's First Amendment, which protects forms of parody and satire as necessary aspects of free speech. "The Bad Spaniels Silly Squeaker toy is indisputably a good-faith (and successful) parody," wrote Bennett Cooper, an attorney representing VIP Products, in a court filing. A lower court had previously ruled in favour of VIP Products, which led Jack Daniel's to seek further review from the Supreme Court. Major brands - such as Nike, Campbell Soup Company, Patagonia and Levi Strauss - have urged justices to side with Jack Daniel's.

The Biden administration also supports Jack Daniel's claim, filing a brief that said First Amendment concerns do not override the Lanham Act, which protects trademarked brands from parodies that cause confusion. The brief also took issue with classifying the parody toy as a "non-commercial" expression, since it was a commercial product. Meanwhile free speech advocates have filed briefs in support of VIP Products.
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-65043219
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Re: SCOTUS heard the case of Jack Daniel's versus the squeaky dog toy.

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From the suit:
highdesert wrote: Thu Mar 23, 2023 12:18 pm "Jack Daniel's loves dogs and appreciates a good joke as much as anyone. But Jack Daniel's likes its customers even more, and doesn't want them confused or associating its fine whiskey with dog poop," Lisa Blatt, attorney for Jack Daniel's, wrote in court papers.

The filing continued to say the Arizona toy company was profiting "from Jack Daniel's hard-earned goodwill" and confusing consumers, by getting them to "associate Jack Daniel's whiskey with excrement". The toy costs about $20 (£16). The bottle of liquor says "40% alcohol by volume", while the "Bad Spaniels Silly Squeaker" chew toy reads "43% poo by volume" and "100% Smelly". The company also produces other similar toys that resemble other notable alcohol and soda brands.
I know some whisky/whiskey snobs who would tell you that Jack Daniel's is crappy whiskey, so Ms. Blatt's fear tracks. If they are concerned that this would confuse their customers, they have a low opinion of their customers' ability to think.

My taxable-income gig is security at an Brown-Forman facility (Jack Daniel's is a Brown-Forman brand), so I have a sense of how B-F takes their branding seriously--too seriously, in this case.
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Re: SCOTUS heard the case of Jack Daniel's versus the squeaky dog toy.

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A parody does not preclude the ability to make money off the joke. If that were the case then actors could not be paid for their work.

It makes sense that major brands would back trademark protection. They make their money off controlling intellectual property and patents. They would control the air we breath if they could. Companies are currently trying to control the water we drink by packaging it in plastic and calling it a unique product of their own specific design.

I’m with anything that reduces the power of corporations. Especially humorous attacks on their ridiculous standing in society. JD would show their humanity by backing their lawyers the F off this F-ing mole hill. Hell they would show their humor by releasing their own “accurate” Jack Daniel’s dog toy… Made in America (dammit).
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Re: SCOTUS heard the case of Jack Daniel's versus the squeaky dog toy.

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Bisbee wrote: Thu Mar 23, 2023 3:58 pm A parody does not preclude the ability to make money off the joke. If that were the case then actors could not be paid for their work.

It makes sense that major brands would back trademark protection. They make their money off controlling intellectual property and patents. They would control the air we breath if they could. Companies are currently trying to control the water we drink by packaging it in plastic and calling it a unique product of their own specific design.

I’m with anything that reduces the power of corporations. Especially humorous attacks on their ridiculous standing in society. JD would show their humanity by backing their lawyers the F off this F-ing mole hill. Hell they would show their humor by releasing their own “accurate” Jack Daniel’s dog toy… Made in America (dammit).
Hear, hear!
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Re: SCOTUS heard the case of Jack Daniel's versus the squeaky dog toy.

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It's stupid, not humorous at all. Who thinks this is funny, the "Bad Spaniels Silly Squeaker" chew toy reads "43% poo by volume" and "100% Smelly"?
And I just don't get the poo humor.

Besides that plastic toys are filled with phthalates. Your killing your pets. It's taken years just to get plasticizers out of that horrid but popular LVP flooring but not toys.
Just like that new car smell. It's a killer.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,”

Re: SCOTUS heard the case of Jack Daniel's versus the squeaky dog toy.

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tonguengroover wrote: Fri Mar 24, 2023 12:56 am It's stupid, not humorous at all. Who thinks this is funny, the "Bad Spaniels Silly Squeaker" chew toy reads "43% poo by volume" and "100% Smelly"?
And I just don't get the poo humor.

Besides that plastic toys are filled with phthalates. Your killing your pets. It's taken years just to get plasticizers out of that horrid but popular LVP flooring but not toys.
Just like that new car smell. It's a killer.
As it happens, my two Bassets aren't interested in such toys anyway (we have a couple of mock wine bottle squeeky toys that they ignore), so I have no reason to buy any more such toys, to include parodies of a Jack Daniel's bottle.

But I still see value in the parody. The dogs don't give a damn what the label says, anyway. I would posit that the vast majority of the cutesie dog toys are marketed for the dog PEOPLE.

And, yeah, I see your point. Plastics are derivatives of crude oils, or were when I was a kid, and they aren't usually biodegradable once they are tossed in the landfills.

And I STILL see the humor in parody. Some entities--including brands belonging to the company that contracts my employer--need to lighten up. A lot.
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Re: SCOTUS heard the case of Jack Daniel's versus the squeaky dog toy.

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BearPaws wrote: Fri Mar 24, 2023 1:43 am
tonguengroover wrote: Fri Mar 24, 2023 12:56 am But I still see value in the parody. The dogs don't give a damn what the label says, anyway. I would posit that the vast majority of the cutesie dog toys are marketed for the dog PEOPLE.
And it's pathetic that as a nation we are at the point where pre-school level potty talk is the path to reach a buying (and voting) demographic.
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Re: SCOTUS heard the case of Jack Daniel's versus the squeaky dog toy.

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Decades ago, I took a college course in public speaking. A few lessons from that course have stayed with me all these years.

One of them was that humor is very, very difficult to get right. The instructor didn't even have us try that.

You see, there is ALWAYS going to be someone who will find a "humorous" bit not funny, whether the "humor" is dumb, or offensive, or too sophisticated, or not clever enough.

And, in several dog groups on social media, I find a lot of scatological humor that is, in part, a coping mechanism for dealing with dog bodily functions.
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Re: SCOTUS heard the case of Jack Daniel's versus the squeaky dog toy.

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Obviously the toy company figured “Old No. 1” would have been harder to make. I doubt the folks at Jack Daniel’s would have seen the humor in that one either. As a whiskey bourbon enjoyer, I could care less about a toy and its humorous association. I’m more offended by Jack Daniel’s wasting resources on this type of action. Yes, it’s a waste and takes up docket space from other issues I might find more worthy.
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Re: SCOTUS heard the case of Jack Daniel's versus the squeaky dog toy.

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I'm sorry but I think the SCOTUS needs to flat-out reject Jack Daniels. Famous people and companies always think they have to "protect their brand" which is utter BULLSHIT and violates Free Speech. Courts have long ruled that jokes and parodies are protected free speech. There is NO WAY IN HELL any reasonable, or even half-reasonable person would think this hurts Jack Daniels. It's a fucking dog toy. My hound would shred it in a few hours...if not a few minutes.

They wasted a VALUABLE slot of their time dealing with this bullshit.

This the kind of crap like Hedy Lamarr suing Mel Brooks for the "Hedley Lamarr" parody in "Blazing Saddles".
Or Joe DiMaggio being furious and thinking of suing Simon & Garfunkle for "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?" in "Mrs. Robinson". "I haven't gone anywhere!" said an angry Joe.

Sometimes it blows up: Zip files were the brain child of Phil Katz, who originally developed a far, FAR faster method of building and opening archived files with extension ".ARC". So he had 2 programs: PKARC and PKXARC. But the company that had developed the .ARC format sued Katz for infringement, won, and he was barred from every using the .ARC extension or format. So Katz developed his own format and released PKZIP and PKUNZIP using his new .ZIP format. He then IMMEDIATELY put the .ZIP format in the public domain. Back then there was the FIDO-Net, connecting dialup sites. I remember watching, on the sites I frequented, the blazing speed with which .ARC files were replaced with .ZIP files, just being discarded for this newer, exponentially faster programs for .ZIP files. So the suing company won the battle....but lost the war. The only competition now to .ZIP files are .RAR files--and the .ARC vs .ZIP was in the late 1980's.

Then there was SONY, with their highly proprietorial Betamax system. So other companies formed a consortium that developed VHS files. Sure, Beta was always 'WAY ahead of VHS in features, like Hi-Fi recording, and the imaging was better. Even the tapes and machines were cheaper. But VHS had longer tapes, could hold 3 movies instead of two, and was far more universal. So even though Beta was technically ahead of and mechanically BETTER than VHS, VHS ended up winning.
"Even if the bee could explain to the fly why pollen is better than shit, the fly could never understand."

Re: SCOTUS heard the case of Jack Daniel's versus the squeaky dog toy.

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YankeeTarheel wrote: Fri Mar 24, 2023 10:41 am I'm sorry but I think the SCOTUS needs to flat-out reject Jack Daniels. Famous people and companies always think they have to "protect their brand" which is utter BULLSHIT and violates Free Speech. Courts have long ruled that jokes and parodies are protected free speech. There is NO WAY IN HELL any reasonable, or even half-reasonable person would think this hurts Jack Daniels. It's a fucking dog toy. My hound would shred it in a few hours...if not a few minutes.

They wasted a VALUABLE slot of their time dealing with this bullshit.

This the kind of crap like Hedy Lamarr suing Mel Brooks for the "Hedley Lamarr" parody in "Blazing Saddles".
Or Joe DiMaggio being furious and thinking of suing Simon & Garfunkle for "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?" in "Mrs. Robinson". "I haven't gone anywhere!" said an angry Joe.

Sometimes it blows up: Zip files were the brain child of Phil Katz, who originally developed a far, FAR faster method of building and opening archived files with extension ".ARC". So he had 2 programs: PKARC and PKXARC. But the company that had developed the .ARC format sued Katz for infringement, won, and he was barred from every using the .ARC extension or format. So Katz developed his own format and released PKZIP and PKUNZIP using his new .ZIP format. He then IMMEDIATELY put the .ZIP format in the public domain. Back then there was the FIDO-Net, connecting dialup sites. I remember watching, on the sites I frequented, the blazing speed with which .ARC files were replaced with .ZIP files, just being discarded for this newer, exponentially faster programs for .ZIP files. So the suing company won the battle....but lost the war. The only competition now to .ZIP files are .RAR files--and the .ARC vs .ZIP was in the late 1980's.

Then there was SONY, with their highly proprietorial Betamax system. So other companies formed a consortium that developed VHS files. Sure, Beta was always 'WAY ahead of VHS in features, like Hi-Fi recording, and the imaging was better. Even the tapes and machines were cheaper. But VHS had longer tapes, could hold 3 movies instead of two, and was far more universal. So even though Beta was technically ahead of and mechanically BETTER than VHS, VHS ended up winning.
Agree.
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Re: SCOTUS heard the case of Jack Daniel's versus the squeaky dog toy.

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sig230 wrote: Fri Mar 24, 2023 7:36 am
And it's pathetic that as a nation we are at the point where pre-school level potty talk is the path to reach a buying (and voting) demographic.
What could we expect from that group that voted for TOS.
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Re: SCOTUS heard the case of Jack Daniel's versus the squeaky dog toy.

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sig230 wrote: Fri Mar 24, 2023 7:36 am
BearPaws wrote: Fri Mar 24, 2023 1:43 am
tonguengroover wrote: Fri Mar 24, 2023 12:56 am But I still see value in the parody. The dogs don't give a damn what the label says, anyway. I would posit that the vast majority of the cutesie dog toys are marketed for the dog PEOPLE.
And it's pathetic that as a nation we are at the point where pre-school level potty talk is the path to reach a buying (and voting) demographic.
Not my quote sig
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Re: SCOTUS heard the case of Jack Daniel's versus the squeaky dog toy.

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BearPaws wrote: Fri Mar 24, 2023 8:53 am Decades ago, I took a college course in public speaking. A few lessons from that course have stayed with me all these years.

One of them was that humor is very, very difficult to get right. The instructor didn't even have us try that.

You see, there is ALWAYS going to be someone who will find a "humorous" bit not funny, whether the "humor" is dumb, or offensive, or too sophisticated, or not clever enough.

And, in several dog groups on social media, I find a lot of scatological humor that is, in part, a coping mechanism for dealing with dog bodily functions.
You just had to dig up the word scat - ological didn't you. Humor me with dirty poopy language. lol
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,”

Re: SCOTUS heard the case of Jack Daniel's versus the squeaky dog toy.

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The case arguments at SCOTUS were serious and funny. It really wasn't partisan, the summary at SCOTUSblog:
All in all, the argument strongly suggests a bench trying to avoid making any serious waves in First Amendment rules for political and artistic speech. It may take some time for all the justices to work through their preferred phrasings, and there well may be some separate writing. But it is hard to imagine a group of five coalescing to reject Jack Daniel’s plea for protection.
https://www.scotusblog.com/2023/03/just ... y-dispute/
"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts." - Daniel Patrick Moynihan

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