The makers of America's most ubiquitous bourbon, Jack Daniel's, have poured out a legal shot at a competitor. Their argument in San Francisco District Court: When it comes to marketing liquor, you don't know Jack.
While even teetotalers know Jack Daniel's distillery is in Lynchburg, Tenn., it turns out Jack Daniel's Properties, Inc. is in San Rafael -- a realm more associated with hot tubs and New Age than casks of aging whiskey. The company's lawsuit vs. White Rock Distillers is pretty simple to summarize once you, er, distill it down to its elements. JD's has put a lot of time, money, and patents into the name "Jack." So for White Rock to market a wide variety of rum drinks under the name "Jack" ("Mango Jack," "Banana Jack," "Spiced Jack No. 94") is the legal equivalent of drinking an entire 750-ml bottle of JD's in one drunken teenaged night -- a shaky proposition.
Jack Daniel's has "long
advertised and promoted 'JACK DANIEL'S' whiskey and prepared alcoholic
cocktails by reference to the historical person Jack Daniel, the founder of the Jack
Daniel Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee, as 'Mr. Jack,' 'Uncle Jack,' 'Gentleman Jack,' or simply 'Jack,' and have encouraged consumers of 'JACK
DANIEL'S' whiskey, prepared alcoholic cocktails, and related goods to feel a
personal affinity and friendship with 'Jack,'" reads the oddly engrossing lawsuit.
line in a number of promotional slogans that associate the line with someone
named 'Jack,' such as 'Sail Away with Jack,' 'Cozy
Up to Jack, 'Fall In Love with Jack' ...
"White Rock has encouraged the consumption of its 'JACK'-flavored
rum line and its 'SPICED JACK' rum together with other beverages, such as
Coca-Cola in cocktails ... and has given a number of such cocktails names ... such as 'Jack is Back,' 'Jack-O-Tini,' Sunny Jack,' ... and 'The Other Jack and Ginger,' an allusion to a Jack Daniel's cocktail."
It just ain't a federal case until someone mentions the Jack-O-Tini.
In any event, the JD's people claim this is trademark infringement and unfair competition. And they're hoping the rum purveyors are introduced to a new concept -- the jack slap.
H/T | Courthouse News