Arizona-based company comes under fire by Jack Daniel’s for parody dog toy

An Arizona-based company VIP Products is under fire from whiskey distillery giant Jack Daniel’s...
An Arizona-based company VIP Products is under fire from whiskey distillery giant Jack Daniel’s over a parody dog toy the company created.(AP Photo/Jessica Gresko)
Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 1:41 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5/AP) -- Arizona-based VIP Products, LLC is under fire from whiskey distillery giant Jack Daniel’s over a parody dog toy being sold by the company.

The company that makes Jack Daniel’s has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its case against the product called “Bad Spaniels,” a squeaker-toy that resembles Daniel’s signature bottle with a label that reads “The Old No. 2 on your Tennessee Carpet.” Other companies have advocated for Jack Daniel’s, asking the Supreme Court to set guidelines for trademark law.

VIP Product’s toy sells for around $13 to $20 with packaging notes that say, “This product is not affiliated with Jack Daniel Distillery.” Lisa Blatt, the lead attorney for Daniel’s, told the Associated Press, “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.” Blatt continued saying that trademark law could mean life or death depending on the product and referenced products that mimic candy packaging and are marketed as marijuana edibles.

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 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.

This is far from VIP Product’s first parody product. Other beverage distributors have also been the butt of the company’s humor such as “Cataroma” (Corona), “Dos Perros” (Dos Equis), “Mountain Drools” (Mountain Dew), “SmellRCrotch” (Stella Artois), and even “Panta” (Fanta). The specific “Bad Spaniels” design was addressed by Jack Daniel’s in 2014 when the company first asked the chew toy creator to stop. It was at that point that Daniel’s won the first court round but lost their appeal.

The case is now referred to as Jack Daniel’s Properties, Inc. v. VIP Products, LLC.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.