The maker of Jack Daniel’s has filed suit against two Texas companies alleging they infringed the Tennessee whiskey’s trademark and trade dress by selling a line of whiskies in similarly shaped bottles with similar labeling. Jack Daniel’s Props., Inc., v. Dynasty Spirits, Inc., No. 18-2400 (N.D. Cal., filed April 20, 2018). The complaint alleges that Tennessee whiskey has been sold under the Jack Daniel’s mark “continuously since 1875, except during Prohibition” and is sold in a “square bottle with angled shoulders, beveled corners, and a ribbed neck, a black cap, a black neck wrap closure with white printing bearing the OLD NO. 7 mark, and a label with a white on black color scheme bearing the JACK DANIEL’S mark depicted in arched lettering at the top of the label [] and the word ‘Tennessee’ depicted in script.” The competitor whiskies “all feature a square bottle with angled shoulders, beveled corners and a ribbed neck,” and the rival’s Lonehand Whisky “also features a black cap, a black neck wrap closure, and a black label … with the word ‘whiskey’ in script, and the words ‘Tennessee Sour Mash’ in the lower portion of the label.”

The complaint also asserts that the defendants asked retailers to display the competitors’ products “adjacent” to Jack Daniel’s and to use promotional materials that employ elements of the protected trade dress. Moreover, it alleges that Lonehand Whisky was “[c]ompared to Jack Daniels by a store employee (but at a bargain price!).” Alleging trademark and trade dress infringement, dilution of trademarks and trade dress, false advertising and unfair competition, the plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, destruction of marketing and production materials, accounting of profits, damages and attorney’s fees.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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