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Sour Mash? Jack Daniel's Sues Bargain Whiskey Over Label, Bottle Design

Jack Daniel's has sued the maker of Lonehand Whiskey claiming that it designed its label and bottle to look deceptively close to its "Old No. 7" design.
In recent news, Jack Daniels has sued the companies behind the Lonehand Whiskey brand, amongst others, for damaging the Jack Daniels brand. The complaint was made on April 20th, against Dynasty Spirits in Dallas and Houston's Gulf Coast Distillers, who are allegedly selling a variety of different whiskey bottles which 'mimic' the Jack Daniels design. The 'iconic' square bottle, with its black neck and cap, is well-known, as are the phrases on the bottle. The three-dimensional square bottle is registered as US trademark number 4,106,178 and the black figurative mark featuring the phrases, ‘Old No. 7,’ ‘Jack Daniel’s,’ ‘Tennessee,’ and ‘Sour mash whiskey’ on the bottle as number 4,106,179.

Brown-Forman is claiming that the Lonehand brand has purposefully created a bottle similar in shape to Jack Daniels, and added the phrases 'Tennessee Sour Mash' to the label in order to confuse customers. The company has also suggested that the defendants have pushed retailers to place their bottles next to Jack Daniels on the shelves, in an attempt to sway drinkers. These bottles are sold via similar channels and to the same customer class as Jack Daniels. According to Brown-Forman, this is all part of an international strategy to dilute the Jack Daniels brand and inflict 'irreparable harm' to the company. Brown-Forman also touched on the 'highly critical customer reviews, indicating that said product is of inferior quality. The product has impaired and will continue to impair, the distinctive quality of the Jack Daniel’s trade dress in the marketplace. They have pursued a pattern of conduct and an intentional business strategy designed to mislead and deceive customers.'

'Unless restrained and enjoined by this court, defendants will persist in their trademark infringement and unfair competition as aforesaid, thereby causing Jack Daniel’s Properties Inc further irreparable harm,' said the complaint.

The complaint filed by Brown-Forman also included several other whiskey brands, which have allegedly 'mimicked' the Jack Daniels design. Based on infringement of federally registered trademarks, trade dress dilution, and false advertising, Brown-Forman wants the accused companies to pay injunctive relief and triple damages, including all legal costs. The defendants have yet to reply to the complaint.

Original Article Published by Forbes

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