Supreme Court unanimously sides with Jack Daniel's in dog toy trademark dispute
Using "a trademark as a trademark ... does not receive special First Amendment protection," the court said.
The Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously ruled in favor of Jack Daniel's over a trademark dispute involving a poop-themed dog toy parodying the distillery's iconic whisky bottle.
The ruling rejected an appeals court decision that had found the toy produced by Bad Spaniels fell under the "non-commercial use" exclusion, which gives the dog product manufacturer constitutional protection to make the toy, which looked strikingly similar to a Jack Daniel's bottle, except with scatological humor on the labels.
"This case is about dog toys and whiskey, two items seldom appearing in the same sentence," Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan said when delivering the opinion of the court.
Using "a trademark as a trademark ... does not receive special First Amendment protection," she also wrote. "The use of a mark does not count as noncommercial just because it parodies, or otherwise comments on, another’s products."