Squeaky toys spark trademark battle in Supreme Court

       Jack Daniel’s Whiskey is suing the pet company, alleging trademark infringement over a toy that looks like one of their bottles.
       The judges discussed some important issues regarding product imitation and what constitutes trademark infringement.
        “Frankly, if I were the Supreme Court, I would not want to rule on this case. It’s complicated,” said trademark lawyer Michael Condoudis.
        While some believe the toy is a clear trademark infringement because it copies the look and shape of a Jack Daniel’s bottle, copycat products are generally protected by freedom of speech. Defense lawyer Bennett Cooper argued in Supreme Court on Wednesday that the toy was just that.
       ”Jack Daniels seriously promotes Jack as everyone’s friend, while Bad Dog is a wannabe, jokingly comparing Jack to man’s other best friend,” Cooper said.
       “Under our system, trademark owners have an obligation to enforce their trademark rights and maintain what we call distinctiveness,” Kondoudis said.
        Pet companies may be barking up the wrong tree because they make money from toys. This could confuse their defense of free speech.
        “When you move beyond imitation and into commercialization, you are actually producing a range of products and selling them at a profit,” Kondoudis said. “The lines between what is commentary and what is protected and what is normal business activity that is protected by a trademark are blurred.”

Post time: Sep-20-2023