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Los Angeles Business Litigation Attorney | Jack Daniel’s Suing Small Distiller for Trademark Infringement

  • By: Robert Klein

A new look has jumpstarted a trademark dispute between whiskey makers Jack Daniel’s and Popcorn Sutton’s, according to the Detroit Free Press. After Popcorn Sutton’s Tennessee White Whiskey started out being sold in Mason jars, an acknowledgement of the fact that Popcorn Sutton’s gets its name from and carries on the tradition of famed Appalachian moonshiner Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton, it has since switched to a square-shaped bottle.

“When it was in the Mason jars, it was a better seller, more of a curiosity,” Nick Reifsteck, the manager of Old Town Wine and Spirits in Louisville, Kentucky, told the Free Press.

In addition to being a “better seller” and “more of a curiosity” when it was in the Mason jars, Popcorn Sutton’s also did not draw the ire of Jack Daniel’s when it was sold in its original container. However, Popcorn Sutton’s new bottling has done just that, with Jack Daniel’s filing a trademark infringement suit against the Nashville-based distiller. In the lawsuit, Jack Daniel’s claims that Popcorn Sutton’s new bottling and labeling is “confusingly similar” to its own.

“Defendants’ use of the new Popcorn Sutton’s trade dress in connection with their Tennessee white whiskey is likely to cause purchasers and prospective purchasers of the product to believe mistakenly that it is a new Tennessee white whiskey product in the Jack Daniel’s line,” reads a copy of the lawsuit obtained by the Free Press.

According to the Jack Daniel’s lawsuit, both Jack Daniel’s and Popcorn Sutton’s bottles are square shaped with angled shoulders and beveled corners, with white-on-black labeling color schemes. With its suit, Jack Daniel’s seeks to remove the Popcorn Sutton bottle from the marketplace and is also seeking unspecified damages.

“We’ve taken action against many individuals and companies all over the world for infringing [on] the Jack Daniel’s trademark,” the spokesperson for Brown-Forman, which owns Jack Daniel’s, told the Free Press. “We are vigorous in our defense of all our trademarks and especially Jack Daniel’s.”

Our Los Angeles trademark infringement attorneys may be able to help you if you are involved in a trademark infringement dispute. For more information about trademarks as well as other intellectual property disputes, please review our website. To schedule an appointment to discuss your situation with one of our Los Angeles trademark infringement lawyers, call our firm at (323) 653-3900 or fill out the case review form on this page.

Quick Klein Extra: The Trademark Act of 1946, which is also known as the Lanham Act, governs Trademark law in the US.

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Robert Klein

About the Author Attorney Robert Klein is a former CPA and known for
finding creative solutions to complex business lawsuits.