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morenewsat11 t1_ix55tmm wrote

> The toy is part of a line of VIP Products called Silly Squeakers that mimic liquor, beer, wine and soda bottles. They include Mountain Drool, which parodies Mountain Dew, and Heini Sniff’n, which parodies Heineken. A court in 2008 barred the company from selling its Budweiser parody, ButtWiper.

Props to the folks at VIP Products for their refined sense of humour.


DortDrueben t1_ix5bkvz wrote

Costco has a line of these toys but it's mimicking their Kirkland Sig line of booze and other products with similar puns. Even a dog toy membership card. Wonder if other lawsuits are incoming.

Some co's will let things slide. But "butt wiper"? Yeah, don't poke the bear.


dewayneestes t1_ix5fouu wrote

Budweiser probably holds the copyright to ButtWiper.


oneplusetoipi t1_ix5j0u1 wrote

They certainly hold the recipe.


khaos_kyle t1_ix7nulw wrote

Hahah this joke is funny because it tastes like crap!


djb1983CanBoy t1_ix9r2lc wrote

Hey, dont insult the people who like eating crap. Now those who like chewing on products that clean crappy butts….


descendency t1_ix64eu6 wrote

i would think they could argue that there is no infraction here because the products are non competing...

But let's be real, Budweiser is aimed at dogs.


4mystuff t1_ix7kue4 wrote

If I recall correctly, Budweiser's primary complaint against ButtWiper was that butwiper also tasted like budweiser. Or that Budweuser tasted like buttwipe, i don't remember exactly.


xantxant t1_ix5u3rw wrote

  • It's parody.
  • The products are not confusingly-similar; they are not even the same product. One is alcohol, the other is a dog toy.

There is no trademark case here. They're out of their gourds. That doesn't mean this braindead court won't hear it, though.

> “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,” she wrote for the Louisville, Kentucky-based Brown-Forman Corp., Jack Daniel’s parent company.

No it doesn't. Shut up.


themehboat t1_ix63602 wrote

Right? No one is buying this dog toy and then getting upset that they can’t drink it. Or if they are, they’ve had enough to drink.


GabeTheJerk t1_ix6otu5 wrote

Or shouldn't be allowed to drink, vote or own a gun


tr00p3r t1_ix78bao wrote

No but they are buying it because it is related to Jack Daniels. If they want to make a toy alcohol bottle just use something completely made up... Oh wait. That's not funny so it won't sell.


hiimsubclavian t1_ix7n5fj wrote

Yes, you've just described the definition of parody. Which happens to be protected by the first amendment.


tr00p3r t1_ix7p8z5 wrote

It's worth going to court. See examples at the bottom of this page:,which%20one%20work%20imitates%20another.

The toy doesn't seem to make fun or comment on the jack Daniels brand, it's just a copy with changes.


micahatc t1_ix8mt7q wrote

It’s a copy with changes like not being a glass bottle that’s filled with liquid.


EagleFalconn t1_ix6hpnn wrote

>Takes advantage of Jack Daniel's hard-earned goodwill

Which in human speak means, "They're only making fun of us because we're popular!"

No shit, sherlock. Otherwise it wouldn't be effective parody.


pregnantseahorsedad t1_ix6vskf wrote

This one got me:

"And she said it has “broad and dangerous consequences,” pointing to
children who were hospitalized after eating marijuana-infused products
that mimicked candy packaging."

You really think that the dog is gonna accidentally get drunk off your whiskey?


nj0tr t1_ix75fng wrote

> the dog is gonna accidentally get drunk off your whiskey?

no, but vet bills (and 'emotional trauma') for someone's beloved dog accidentally biting into real JD bottle can well be a basis for a civil claim


DoctorGreyscale t1_ix7iqoh wrote

What vet bills? Are you trying to imply that a dog would break its teeth or shatter the bottle? If a dog bit into a glass bottle they'd definitely be able to tell the difference.


IndianKiwi t1_ixafpec wrote

Better take away the gun shaped stuffy also. Just incase they go after a real gun


pregnantseahorsedad t1_ixaqhnj wrote

Dogs wouldn't confuse the scent of the plastic with the scent of the glass/paper. Plastic is really stinky to the dogs... Especially if they like the toy, it'll probably smell like cortisol from their saliva the last time they played with it.


DrDroid t1_ix9o6m1 wrote

That would be literally the dumbest dog in history if it did that.


theluckyone17 t1_ix66jrj wrote

I'm pretty sure they're saying we general consumers are likely to confuse their liquor product with a dog toy.

I'm not saying they're right, and I'm not saying they're wrong... But if they're afraid I'm going to confuse the two, I don't really want to be drinking their product.


EuronXena t1_ix6k158 wrote

The piggybacking off JD’s goodwill is obvious though. It’s definitely an interesting case but JD’s attorney is not producing good arguments with the weed gummy BS.


Laserspeeddemon t1_ix89esq wrote

No Jack Daniel's is in the right. I went to drink my whiskey and nearly choked on a dog toy. I was so confused.


throwawaydontask24 t1_ix7ecew wrote

If someone's not capable of recognizing the difference between a piece of rubber that's labelled a chew toy, they shouldn't be buying alcohol lmao


VitaminPb t1_ix6806k wrote

The argument is “We have a product consumers like. This product is playing off our product popularity to make sales and profit without being licensed.” Which is a valid claim.

Could I make a sell Tesla plushies or toys and call them “Telsa”?


0110010001100010 t1_ix6h9vf wrote

>Could I make a sell Tesla plushies or toys and call them “Telsa”?

No, but that's not the claim here. The product isn't called "Jack Daniel's" nor does it have any of the same language on the "bottle."

The toy is "Bad Spaniels"


>The toy that has Jack Daniel’s so doggone mad mimics the square shape of its whisky bottle as well as its black-and-white label and amber-colored liquor while adding what it calls “poop humor.” While the original bottle has the words “Old No. 7 brand” and “Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey,” the parody proclaims: “The Old No. 2 on Your Tennessee Carpet.” Instead of the original’s note that it is 40% alcohol by volume, the parody says it’s “43% Poo by Vol.” and “100% Smelly.”

So you comparison is totally wrong.


VitaminPb t1_ix6zglv wrote

You misread what the name for the supposed toys was. I described something that looked like another thing with a different name.


WexfordHo t1_ix557uu wrote

I really doubt that the SCOTUS will hear this one.


Chard069 t1_ix5kjsb wrote

That depends on how much JD arrives on SCOTUS justices' front porches. From anonymous donors, of course. I recall certain jurisdictions where a favorable property assessment could be bought with a case of spirits. Just an anonymous donation, of course.


mbta1 t1_ix5ybfo wrote

If I recall, Kavanaugh likes alcohol


pilgrim93 t1_ix60f33 wrote

Can’t remember if hard liquor was included in his list but he is for sure on record about his beer stance.


Carlweathersfeathers t1_ix6bb8d wrote

I’m not sure what the show Scrubs has to do with this case, but if JD shows up without Turk, it’s a no from me dog


Chard069 t1_ix6lofo wrote

I never saw SCRUBS. My JD reference was for Jack Daniels. Sorry to have confused you.


TBoneBaggetteBaggins t1_ixfioj8 wrote

Well they did.


WexfordHo t1_ixfiusq wrote

Yeah I’m surprised, this seemed like an easy pass to me.


TBoneBaggetteBaggins t1_ixfwbrs wrote

Most cases are. Frankly, if they want to make things like this more acceptable, they needed to take the case. As things stand now, in most courts this would be a violation. Of course, the lower court ruling here seems like an outlier, so they may end up strengthening brand owner rights if they reverse, which is usually why they take IP cases.


theedgeofoblivious t1_ix56kp3 wrote

It's really stupid that lawsuits like this are allowed in this country.


LVAUGHNZ t1_ix58pcp wrote

people who waste time and money with silly lawsuits should be fined or punished


sighthoundman t1_ix5fixr wrote

They are.

The difficult question is "What is the line between frivolous and raising a valid objection, even if unlikely to win?" In much of the world, you don't want to bring a lawsuit because of "loser pays" rules, meaning that if you lose, you have to pay for the winner's attorneys.

The bar to being found frivolous is fairly high. A much lower bar is set by the defense attorneys, who simply file a motion for dismissal. "We understand how losing his wife in this tragic accident is a severe blow to Mr. Plaintiff, but we believe that it cannot possibly be our fault because we were merely the auditors for the company he claims is at fault."

The easiest way to get your claim dismissed, and your lawyer disbarred, and have to pay for the other side's legal costs, is to have your lawyer get caught lying to the court.


LVAUGHNZ t1_ix5fy1d wrote

You can at least agree that some of them are obviously frivilous right? I worked at a court deposition office years ago and we had a lady paying out the ass trying to sue the US gov because "the poor relations with North Korea was causing her stress".


themehboat t1_ix63htl wrote

Just out of curiosity, what did she want us to do about it?


LVAUGHNZ t1_ix695ps wrote

I dont know I didn't really read it, she just wanted money and proclaimed the stress that her family was living there was causing health issues and she tried to cash in on past "damages" and future "damages". I was in charge of scanning all the printed documents to make digital and physical copies and I rarely read the text. There was one where some smaller company was suing blizzard for allegedly copying their netcode for world of warcraft. Sometimes it was horrific car accidents with pictures from the scene.


themehboat t1_ix69uyj wrote

That’s a pretty idiotic way to try to get a windfall.


Nop277 t1_ix75y4b wrote

Idk if it was related but that reminds me of that time some company sued not just Blizzard but pretty much every MMO claiming they had a copyright on any system where someone communicates via text in a game. The litigants were known copyright trolls and I'm pretty sure it got chucked out.


sighthoundman t1_ix6d1y7 wrote

No doubt. I can sue Greg Abbott because he signed a bill that causes me emotional distress.

The state of Texas employs tons of lawyers. (Literally. A ton of lawyers is somewhere between 20 and 40 people.) They go to the office and work. It costs Texas literally nothing to file a motion for dismissal and the fact that I, with no formal legal training, can think of six reasons to dismiss this case without even stretching my mental muscles, means that the lawyers can probably think of 60. Their motion will be granted, and the case will (I hope: I've heard bad things about Texas judges, which I'm sure are entirely fabricated) be dismissed "with prejudice". (That means I can't bring the same lawsuit again.)

But one of my favorite examples of a "frivolous lawsuit" is the Stella Liebeck (McDonald's coffee) case. She asked originally for her medical bills to be covered. (Because they had done it for previous burn victims from spilled coffee, they had already established that they knew the coffee was dangerous and they were liable for injuries.) They refused, so she sued. Her lawyer convinced the jury that the appropriate award was "3 days' coffee sales". (Apparently logic is not required in courtrooms.) $105 million. Whatever the final settlement was (it's sealed), we do know that it did not involve the lawyer working for free, and it was less than $105 million.

Was that lawsuit frivolous? (For any foreign readers, hospital treatment in the US is far from free. There is essentially no chance of a company being put out of business, or an executive jailed, for safety violations. The only downside to bad behavior is lawsuits. It's essentially private enforcement of the laws.)


splittingheirs t1_ix67yzs wrote

Trademark protection is one of those things that requires companies to constantly challenge others over ownership of their Trademark. If a single case of trademark infringement goes unchallenged then the company can lose their right to the trademark entirely and irrevocably. This is what happend to Mcdonalds and BigMacs in the EU, though in their case they challenged it but couldn't be assed to do their due dilligence in presenting their case.


theedgeofoblivious t1_ix6ab8n wrote

I'm not debating what the law is, and I'm not interested in debating what the law is.

I understand that the law mandates the idea of defending ownership of trademarks.

That doesn't change the fact that this is a dumb lawsuit.

Sometimes dumb lawsuits refer to dumb laws underlying them.

These are dog toys, not food products. They don't compete with the food products, and they come with explicit notices on them indicating that they're not affiliated with or produced by the makers of the products they bear some resemblance to.

The fact that there's any question about the legality of these products is a travesty.


seantabasco t1_ix57bop wrote

The part that confuses me about lawsuits like this is isn’t that dog toy essentially free advertising for Jack Daniel’s? Why sue them?


_tnr t1_ix59b0j wrote

Because they aren't making money off of them


Van_GOOOOOUGH t1_ix5b2x1 wrote

But free advertisement does indeed increase revenue.


dbx999 t1_ix5vrnn wrote

You don’t want to sacrifice the ownership interests of your trademark for the sake of some short lived added public exposure of that trademark done by a 3rd party without license to do so. It means the trademark owner loses control over the way the mark is used and how it’s used. It also erodes the overall defensibility of the trademark in subsequent infringements by unlicensed parties establishing a precedent for permissive use by failure to defend your trademark.


Somepotato t1_ix776uv wrote

Trademarks are categorized. I seriously doubt JD has a trademarked dog toy.


jnmjnmjnm t1_ix7hx15 wrote

Maybe a more general “novelty items”.


Kelend t1_ix6wm40 wrote

>But free advertisement does indeed increase revenue.

That's what people say to free lancers /contractors to get them to do free work.

But lets say you are 100% right.

In that case you go to the copyright / trademark holders and you make your case, get a license to use said trademark / copyrights.


Hunnyhelp t1_ix5b7fi wrote

Jack Daniel’s isn’t getting advertising from the dog toy. No one is familiar with Bad Spaniels but not Jack Daniel’s. The company is profiting off of Jack Daniel’s brand and the company is upset it might dilute the quality of their brand


flippythemaster t1_ix5gg0w wrote

Isn't this a pretty clear cut case of parody? Seems to me like it would be allowed under fair use policy


Nick433333 t1_ix6cngd wrote

Fair use refers to copyright, not trademark. They are distinct things.


imitation_crab_meat t1_ix5cs1t wrote

> No one is familiar with Bad Spaniels but not Jack Daniel’s.

Advertising isn't just to expose new people to things, it's also to bring those things to the forefront in peoples' minds. If they only cared about people unfamiliar with products why would Coca Cola ever advertise again?


Hunnyhelp t1_ix5d3ni wrote

The key part of soft advertising is control over brand image. Here they have none whatsoever. Jack Daniel’s wants to control, their brand association as much as possible. They might not want their brand associated (however unconsciously) with a to-be torn up piece of plastic.


imitation_crab_meat t1_ix5gqip wrote

Unfortunately for them parody is considered fair use under copyright law and they're unlikely to win against what's very clearly a parody product.


TBoneBaggetteBaggins t1_ix5oj26 wrote

How about under trademark law?


imitation_crab_meat t1_ix5w8qf wrote

>Can you parody a trademark?

>To constitute trademark parody, there must be two juxtaposing messages: the use must copy enough of the mark for people to recognize the targeted brand, but differentiate it sufficiently using some articulable elements of satire, ridicule, joking or amusement so that people can tell it is not connected to the original

Also allowed, and this certainly qualifies.


dbx999 t1_ix5vdim wrote

Because it’s a dilution of their trademark. In trademark law, the law is very clear and states that the owner of a trademark has the legal duty to defend their trademark vigorously. To fail to do so will be interpreted as giving permission. And doing so weakens the ownership rights of the owner. Permissive use without license causes detriment to the trademark owner in subsequent infringement cases. So unless you fight hard on the first case, you may be much more vulnerable to other parties taking your trademark and using it for their own commercial purposes with a stronger defense against the original owner.


Moneia t1_ix5js6m wrote

If it can be shown that they're not actively defending their copyright then they can lose it.


ProjectRevolutionTPP t1_ix5swbn wrote

How many times is this dumb misconception going to get spread around. This only applies to trademark, not copyright.


Kelend t1_ix6wqs4 wrote

While he misspoke, this is a case of trademark


Seagullmaster t1_ix5l8ty wrote

Other people are saying they aren’t making money off of this, but free advertising In a humerus way means they are.

No the real reason is that big companies like Jack Daniel’s have lawyers on their payroll who need to justify their existence. Plus suing the other company is also providing additional advertising for Jack Daniel’s cause it gets their name in the headlines.


dbx999 t1_ix5y0jl wrote

No those are not the reasons why a trademark owner defends their trademark. You don’t pay lawyers for busy work. There’s substantive legal reasons to defend a trademark- mainly because it’s their legal duty to do so according to US trademark law. I’ve enumerated the reasons in another comment.


YoMommaHere t1_ix68u2n wrote

Hey Jack Daniels! Y’all can sue for “stealing” AFTER you give up some money and stock to the descendants of Nearis Green.


LaughableIKR t1_ix5avxf wrote

Come on Jack... you can't act like you don't know shit.

>Blatt wrote that a lower court decision provides “near-blanket protection” to humorous trademark infringement. And she said it has “broad and dangerous consequences,” pointing to children who were hospitalized after eating marijuana-infused products that mimicked candy packaging.

So the lawyer thinks that a dog toy will suddenly cause kids to eat things that are dangerous when the parody toy says:

>the parody proclaims: “The Old No. 2 on Your Tennessee Carpet.” Instead of the original’s note that it is 40% alcohol by volume, the parody says it’s “43% Poo by Vol.” and “100% Smelly.”

The only thing smelly about this whole thing is Jack's lawyers.


Global_Sno_Cone t1_ix6jt8s wrote

My dogs love these and yes, we have pictures of them looking like they’re drunk holding a liquor bottle. If anything Jack Daniel’s should be happy my dogs are promoting their product on Facebook.


sargeant-pfeffer t1_ix7du6r wrote

Law suits cost less than advertising and this one is likely to cause much discussion on social Media with pictures of their product plastered liberally around!


fuzzybat23 t1_ix5sluz wrote

It's clearly a parody. Jack Daniel's either had stupid lawyers, or they're just not doing a good job telling their masters they have no case.


KittenKoder t1_ix5u3k7 wrote

OMG this is petty as hell.


TjW0569 t1_ix5yhch wrote

Man, is the Supreme Court going to need another amicus brief from The Onion explaining parody?


vacuous_comment t1_ix7s190 wrote

I suspect Jack Daniels is about to learn about the Streisand effect.


ballsohaahd t1_ix5ts3y wrote

Scotuss will drop Moore Vs Harper and focus on the real issues like this case /s


NetDork t1_ix5wco1 wrote

Streisand effect incoming.


shinobipopcorn t1_ix65czz wrote

I'd like to see the justification on the budweiser case. Isn't parody still legal?


Nicknack_paddywack t1_ix75xqy wrote

Lol this exact toy is my springer spaniel’s favourite toy and it’s durable asf. Loud as hell too, and sQuEaLs when she really squeezes it. The lawsuit is likely more about them being upset about the poop joke than anything concerning copyright infringement.


throwawaydontask24 t1_ix7e6l2 wrote

Love it when I click on an article and get a "this article isn't available in your region". I wonder what's holding them back from deleting the location check and just allowing people to view their mildy interesting article if they aren't from the US.


rev9of8 t1_ix7okqx wrote

Unless it's for copyright reasons, having an article be unavailable in your region is pretty much a straight-up admission that they don't want to have to comply with the EU's General Data Protection Regulation and that they're selling every bit of the data they can gather about you to whoever the fuck they feel like.


Kaitensatsuma t1_ix8bj49 wrote

Clear Parody and not an alternative for the real product 🤷‍♂️


sumelar t1_ix8j9u7 wrote

It is necessary for companies to defend their IP.

But not to the supreme court. And not when it's obvious parody.


vols2943 t1_ix95128 wrote

Nah I doubt anything will happen


Noble_Elite t1_ix9d2zd wrote

Jack Daniel's is just mad they didn't hop on the train first and make their own. Heaven Hill sells squeaky toy bottles of Larceny for dogs


Magicrafter13 t1_ixa4zjw wrote

Does Jack Daniel's not know parody is protected 🤔


queenfantabulous t1_ixcrhgs wrote

The design, typefaces and bottle color aren't even the same. I could understand if everything was designed exactly the same... and actually sold alcohol - but it's a dog toy.


Soylent_Hero t1_ixcz0wp wrote

Waste of money.

I looked thinking it was going to be literally just a plush Jack Daniel's bottle. Though I would have understood a minimally changed "Jack Russell's" bottle 🙃

But Jack doesn't own the concept of black labels and old timey font.


AssociateJaded3931 t1_ix58240 wrote

Jack, been drinking too much of your own stuff? Or maybe just taking yourself and your brew too seriously? This is a ridiculous lawsuit. Shame on your lawyers for even bringing this waste of time suit.


ogresound1987 t1_ix5opng wrote

Their labels are a testament to bigotry. They have bigger things to worry about.


surfmaster t1_ix6dsvw wrote

A lot of people talking shit about JD's case here but I think it's a completely valid dispute.

The draw of the product is that it's shaped like a JD bottle. That's why owners are buying it. Now there's some amount of dispute on whether or not this is parody, but is that the intent of the product? It could be argued both ways. I find it likely that the text being modified on the product is not its main draw, i.e. the parody component is not why people are buying it, it's merely an afterthought, but I don't think there's a hard line in parody to determine that legally. This doesn't serve as criticism of the brand, but that isn't a necessity of parody... it's a lot more complicated legally, to me, than just "lol it said poop, it's parody."


NotThatChar t1_ix6rk6e wrote

I might be the only one, but I legitimately buy the silly squeakers toys because they stand up to a lot of abuse. My dog loves them. Sure it was a joke the first time but I've been replacing them for years.
Right now he's got a Kathula with about 200 tiny holes in it. Still good!


sumelar t1_ix8jegx wrote

It was a valid dispute.

When the lawsuit first started. Taking it this far is whats stupid.


deeper-diver t1_ix5ww7l wrote

If you don't continuously fight for your trademark, you could lose it. While it may be funny, this toy company is pushing the limit of using another company's work for its own profit. We all hate lawyers, but it in this case not only is it necessary but it is also clear that VIP's own lawyers are dumber than dirt for not telling the company that it is a bad idea to introduce a product that clearly copies everyone about Jack Daniel's.


drthomc t1_ix6251p wrote

These days, Jack Daniel's brand name is attached to all sorts of retail products. Barbecue sauce, pecans, cola, honey, seasoning, a clothing line, pool tables. They might want to start selling some pet products. Big money in that. They should defend their brand.