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Jack Daniel's Is Taking This Dog Toy Company to the Supreme Court Over 'Bad Spaniels' Squeaky The lawsuit may be an important case for trademark law.

By Sam Silverman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Whiskey maker Jack Daniel's has a bone to pick with a squeaky dog toy, and they're playing fetch all the way to the Supreme Court.

The iconic alcohol brand has filed a lawsuit against dog toy manufacturer, VIP Products, over its "Bad Spaniels" toy, which mimics the whiskey's signature bottle and branding. The toy swaps the bottle's usual copy with "poop humor," including switching "Old No. 7 brand" and "Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey," with "The Old No. 2 on Your Tennessee Carpet."

Although the toy, which costs between $13 to $20, notes "This product is not affiliated with Jack Daniel Distillery," on its packaging, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the dispute, which calls trademark law and the First Amendment protection of parody into question, per USA Today.

However, the highest court won't see the case until early 2023, according to CBS News, but a decision is expected before the court's summer recess.

In a Supreme Court brief last month, the dog toy company argued that their "Bad Spaniels" squeaky was all in good fun. "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," representatives for VIP products said, per USA Today.

Meanwhile, the liquor company is arguing that misrepresentation is no laughing matter. "To be sure, everyone likes a good joke," Jack Daniel's lead attorney, Lisa Blatt, wrote in her court filing, per CBS, "But VIP's profit-motivated 'joke' confuses consumers by taking advantage of Jack Daniel's hard-earned goodwill."

As of 2021, the Jack Daniel's brand is valued at $6.5 billion.

Sam Silverman

Content Strategy Editor

Sam Silverman is a content strategy editor at Entrepreneur Media. She specializes in search engine optimization (SEO), and her work can be found in The US Sun, Nicki Swift, In Touch Weekly, Life & Style and Health. She writes for our news team with a focus on investigating scandals. Her coverage and expertise span from business news, entrepreneurship, technology, and true crime, to the latest in entertainment and TV news. Sam is a graduate of Lehigh University and currently resides in NYC. 

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