The company that makes Jack Daniel’s is howling mad over a squeaking dog toy that parodies the whiskey’s signature bottle. Now, the liquor company is barking at the door of the Supreme Court.
Jack Daniel’s has asked the justices to hear its case against the manufacturer of the plastic Bad Spaniels toy. The high court could say as soon as Monday whether the justices will agree. A number of major companies from the makers of Campbell Soup to outdoor brand Patagonia and jeans maker Levi Strauss have urged the justices to take what they say is an important case for trademark law.
The toy that has Jack Daniel’s so doggone mad mimics the square shape of its whisky bottle as well as its black-and-white label and amber-colored liquor while adding what it calls “poop humor.” While the original bottle has the words “Old No. 7 brand” and “Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey,” the parody proclaims: “The Old No. 2 on Your Tennessee Carpet.” Instead of the original’s note that it is 40% alcohol by volume, the parody says it’s “43% Poo by Vol.” and “100% Smelly.”
The toy retails for about $13 to $20 and the packaging notes in small font: “This product is not affiliated with Jack Daniel Distillery.”
The toy’s maker says Jack Daniel’s can’t take a joke. “It is ironic that America’s leading distiller of whiskey both lacks a sense of humor and does not recognize when it — and everyone else — has had enough,” lawyers for Arizona-based VIP Products wrote the high court. They told the justices that Jack Daniel’s has “waged war” against the company for “having the temerity to produce a pun-filled parody” of its bottle.
But Jack Daniel’s lead attorney, Lisa Blatt, made no bones about the company’s position in her filing.
“To be sure, everyone likes a good joke. But VIP’s profit-motivated ‘joke’ confuses consumers by taking advantage of Jack Daniel’s hard-earned goodwill,” she wrote for the Louisville, Kentucky-based Brown-Forman Corp., Jack Daniel’s parent company.
Blatt wrote that a lower court decision provides “near-blanket protection” to humorous trademark infringement. And she said it has “broad and dangerous consequences,” pointing to children who were hospitalized after eating marijuana-infused products that mimicked candy packaging.
Lawmakers in the border state of Tamaulipas voted Wednesday night to legalize same-sex marriages, becoming the last of Mexico’s 32 states to authorize such unions.
The measure to amend the state’s Civil Code passed with 23 votes in favor, 12 against and two abstentions, setting off cheers of “Yes, we can!” from supporters of the change.
The session took place as groups both for and against the measure chanted and shouted from the balcony, and legislators eventually moved to another room to finish their debate and vote.
The president of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, Arturo Zaldívar, welcomed the vote. “The whole country shines with a huge rainbow. Live the dignity and rights of all people. Love is love,” he said on Twitter.
A day earlier, lawmakers in the southern state of Guerrero approved similar legislation allowing same-sex marriages.
In 2015, the Supreme Court declared state laws preventing same-sex marriage unconstitutional, but some states took several years to adopt laws conforming with the ruling.
A Pennsylvania man was sentenced Friday to 46 months in federal prison for attacking a police officer with a Donald Trump flag during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
The newspaper reported that Howard Richardson, 72, of King of Prussia, told the court in Washington “there’s no excuse” for his behavior and pleaded for mercy.
But U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly responded, “Your presence and actions in joining other insurrectionists was an inexcusable attack on our democracy.”
Richardson’s sentence is one of the longest yet among those who have been prosecuted for storming the Capitol on Jan. 6 to disrupt the certification of President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. In addition to the nearly four-year prison sentence, Richardson was ordered to serve three years under court supervision after his release and to pay $2,000 in restitution.
Richardson never entered the Capitol, the Inquirer reported, but prosecutors said his attack on a Washington, D.C., police officer merited a lengthy prison term.
According to the paper, police body camera footage showed Richardson bludgeoning an officer outside the Capitol with a metal flagpole. NBC News reported that Richardson also joined a mob using a giant Trump billboard as a battering ram.
Approximately 850 people have been charged with federal crimes for their conduct on Jan. 6. Over 350 of them have pleaded guilty, mostly to misdemeanors, and over 230 have been sentenced. Dozens of Capitol riot defendants who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor offenses have been sentenced to terms of imprisonment ranging from seven days to five months.
A Georgia judge has dismissed a murder charge against a teen after concluding that he was legally justified in shooting a man seven times in 2021 because the man was trying to kidnap him.
The Ledger-Enquirer of Columbus reports that Muscogee County Superior Court Judge John Martin dismissed charges Wednesday against the unnamed teen at the behest of prosecutors who concluded from witnesses and video footage that the boy had a right to defend himself to stop a forcible felony under Georgia’s “stand your ground” law.
The boy, then 16, shot and killed Iverson Gilyard in August 2021 at a Columbus park. The newspaper withheld the boy’s name because he was a juvenile and has now been cleared of charges.
The boy was indicted as an adult in February for murder, aggravated assault, and possessing a gun while committing a felony. But prosecutors later concluded that Gilyard was the primary aggressor, entering the park and hitting the boy over the head with a handgun three times as the boy tried to get away.
Assistant District Attorney Robin Anthony said Gilyard, 22, also threatened to shoot the teen, saying “I’m going to bust you in the kidney.” When parents at the park complained, Anthony said Gilyard told the teen to follow him, stuck the gun in his waistband, and said, “You’d better not run, either.” Anthony said when Gilyard turned to walk away, the teen took a gun from his backpack and shot Gilyard. The 22-year-old was shot seven times, four times in the back, his family has said.