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Monday, November 22, 2010

Jack Daniel's Files Suit -- Aims to Jack Up Competition

Posted By on Mon, Nov 22, 2010 at 12:59 PM

click to enlarge Time for a Lynchburg lawsuit...
  • Time for a Lynchburg lawsuit...

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.

click to enlarge Forget the face that launched 1,000 ships. This is the booze and backside that launched one lawsuit -- and counting.
  • Forget the face that launched 1,000 ships. This is the booze and backside that launched one lawsuit -- and counting.
White Rock is accused of muscling in on the "bar call " of "Jack" -- as in "Jack and Coke." If the upstart has its way, the San Rafael-based bourbon empire contends, calling for the aforementioned Jack and Coke might get you a rum drink. Who can comprehend living in such a world?

"White Rock uses 'JACK' alone to personify its Jack flavored rum

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

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" is a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly, which he has written for since 2007. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers... more


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