The Jack Daniel's Dog Toy case - also known as Jack Daniel’s Properties Incorporated v. VIP Products LLC - made its way to the Supreme Court this week where oral arguments were heard. The case centers around a dog toy company (VIP Products LLC) who makes silly squeaker toys that riff on well-known trademarks in the beverage industry, like Jack Daniel's.
See some examples here:
But, the main toy at issue in this case is this one:
After moving through the district court and the Ninth Circuit, the high court is now tasked with reviewing two questions: (1) whether the Lanham Act's likelihood of confusion analysis or the First Amendment test applies here and (2) whether using another's trademark in a humorous way on a commercial product is a noncommercial use that bars dilution by tarnishment. This case will have far-reaching implications for both trademark and First Amendment jurisprudence.
To kickstart the oral arguments, counsel for Jack Daniel’s stated, “This case involves a dog toy that copies Jack Daniel’s trademark and trade dress and associates its whiskey with dog poop.” And with that - the case's final hurdle of Supreme Court arguments began! We'll be watching this one closely and be ready to implement it's holdings when considering enforcement actions in the future.