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

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.

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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