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The Whiskey Rebellion (brokenpianoforpresident.com)
179 points by Hoff on July 22, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 109 comments



It baffles me why more companies can't be like this. Surely some testing could provide data on success ratio of sending "friendly" c&d letters versus the normal threatening kind. I suspect people are much more likely to play nice in this kind of scenario (especially when the reason for the c&d is not as strong), but why not at least put it to the test?


It probably has to do with the nature of the infringement. I doubt they'd be so friendly with a distiller that was selling "Jack Dawson" whisky with a visually similar label. The book cover isn't harmless, but it's not malicious, either.


They might be so friendly in that other case, but they shouldn't be.

There's a big difference between the two. In the book case, they have a fan in an entirely different business who infringed. They're sane enough to realize that this is very unlikely to impact their bottom line, and there's no malicious intent.

In the "Jack Dawson" case, it's naked profiteering off the original brand's name recognition, and it's clearly malicious. Why be nice?


There are plenty of companies out there that will send a true nastygram for any sort of infringement, no matter how harmless.


And if the infringer doesn't reply to the 'friendly' request, the 'threatening' one can certainly still be sent, with the same effect as if it were sent initially.


There might be misaligned incentives at play here. I'd bet that in a lot of cases lawyers have a strong inventive to settle those things in court.


Lawyers almost never want to go to court. They bill you for the hours preparing the case beforehand - but it's in court that they can lose.


Because their lawyers aren't this smart.

Assuming it ever came to court, it comes down to who the jury likes. Compare this letter being read out as evidence to a standard Disney-style "we will wipe you and your family from the face of the Earth" (for copying a story that we copied from Christian-Anderson) - who are th jury going to feel for?


I would hope to all that is holy that a jury wouldn't give 2 shits what the letter says. It should be about whether or not the person infringed on a trademark, not who has the nicest smile.

It's not about lawyer's being smart, it's about most people being vindictive asshats. If someone is willing to infringe on your trademark it's most likely that they're not willing to roll over and take any polite request to stop. If you send them a letter asking politely for them to stop and they ignore the letter you then have to send another (serious) letter, which is double the lawyer time.

Sure, in a few cases like this one in makes sense because it's not a clear case of infringement and it's more likely a misguided person than a vindictive person, but in more obvious cases (like someone selling "Jack Danielson's" with the same presentation style) it makes no sense to be nice.


You would hope so but, sadly when you do participate in a trial (if you get selected for a jury or are involved in the trial) you'll see that human emotions are a major factor.


Trademark law is a bit bad in this respect. You have to (or be seen to) defend your brand or lose it

So if you don't want to become a fax or xerox or kleenex you have to stamp down on anyone using the name generically.

But you also have to protect other aspects of the brand image. If you can't show that you have rigorously policed somebody using the JD bottle image, then when another drinks maker comes along and calls their product "John Smith's whiskey" but puts it in a bottle like this then they can claim that JD obviously didn't attach any importance to the shape/design of the bottle because they hadn't pursued other users


First, autarch is correct that you're confusing copyright with trademark.

Second, fax was never a trademark (or copyrighted), its origination is from Latin, 'fac simile'.

Finally, Xerox and Kleenex (and others like Hoover) didn't become generic because they didn't defend their trademarks, the problem was never that rival brands named their products using these names. If I buy a bottle of Pepsi and call it "a coke" then Coca-Cola can't raise any legal objection against either Pepsi or me, and it is this sort of thing that might (and to an extent, already has) lead to other brands being called "coke".


It's from facsilimile - but the first commercial product and the first to include the 'fax' was Xerox's MAGNAFAX, although they seem to have used the term LDX rather than FAX for the process.

Coca cola famously won a case preventing others calling themselves "Coke" but lost the Cola part when it was shown that they regarded it as a general term for any similar drink. I suspect Apple's lawyers are more careful when anybody else tries to call a tablet a something-PAD.


It's shortened from facsilimile, which is from the Latin "fac simile" as I said. It was always a description, not a brand name.

Coca-Cola can prevent other companies from calling their products "coke" - but there aren't companies out there calling their products "Xerox" or "Kleenex". Their problem is that consumers refer to other products using their brand names, so the fact that Coca-Cola have preserved their trademark is irrelevant if there are people (and there are) who see a bottle of Pepsi and say "I'm going to grab a coke".


I think you meant trademark law. AFAIK, copyright doesn't require an active defense to preserve your rights.


Yes sorry, finger-brain-interface issues !


A great product coupled with decency?

It's such a crazy idea... it just might work.


Great product?


It's at least not bad whiskey.


I'm so knowledgeable about liquors and stuff, I can't stand dilettante whiskey drinking. Beotians! those that think that the black sticker bottle contains but urine and alcohol.

Go be a liquor nerd somewhere else.


The cheap bottles of JD, IMHO, don't taste so great - but the more expensive bottles (I guess they're aged more?) are pretty good!


Yep. Great product.


And it's worth how much in free advertising and brand image?

Assuming that JD is actually owned by some mega-corp fizzy beer maker (they are not "brewers"!) it's a clever way of giving the impression that they are still good ol' boys.

Compare that to the Disney corps hunting down of every sick children's hospital that paints cartoon characters on it's walls.


Yeah. They're behaving like reasonable human beings to fool us into thinking they're reasonable human beings. But they can't fool us. Imagine the evil they could accomplish if we gave them the benefit of the doubt.


I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or not here.


He is being sarcastic.


I should have put in a smiley.


Jack-Daniels is owned by Brown-Forman which specializes in spirits and not beer. The least alcoholic lines they run are wine.


I had assumed that were now owned by Anheuser-Busch or Diageo or some other mega-corp just because they are so good at brand image management !


They're smaller than Diageo, but still a pretty big company.. almost $4b annual revenue.


When you look into it, you'll find that almost every American whiskey --- both the stuff you can get at Safeway and the enthusiast bottles --- rolls up somehow to a large corporation.


Yeah, I'm a scotch man myself (get that "e" out of me whisky), largely because of taste but I do also like the fact that so many great scotches come from family-owned distilleries - of course, even "family-owned" can be a big company with lots of money, but it's still nice that most of them aren't huge companies.

Edit: worth pointing out that there are a bunch of independent distilleries in America, which I'm led to believe by bourbon-lovers make some amazing drinks - but I don't know nearly enough about this area to give examples. It's just that the big companies outnumber and massively out-produce the small ones.


I'm a whiskey person (I drink a lot of rye) and I'm not intended to disparage the distilleries because of their parentage. I think a lot of them got rolled up in the 70s and 80s. Heaven Hill and Sazerac put out some pretty great stuff.


Rye? Are you a cocktailian?

Edit: given the Wondrich reference further down it seems that you are. I've decided that cocktails have an appealing relationship to programming: they're arcane procedures that require specialized knowledge, but unlike software they're done in five minutes and they make you drunk.


I like cocktails, but I especially like rye, neat.


I don't avoid it because of, it's just a nice added bonus to the drinks I like (the likes of Talisker). Just the same as I use gmail because I think it's the best option, but it makes me happy when Google do stuff like support LGBT rights :)


AFAIK, Talisker is run by Diageo. A lot of Scotch whiskies are owned by bigco's, just like the American ones.


Urgh you're right, forgot about that...


In fact, a lot of them are owned by the same big companies. A lot of scotch is aged in used bourbon barrels, so owning bourbon producers makes a lot of sense for scotch producers.


It doesn't help much that you're required to be licensed in the US to distill spirits at all (beer/wine brewing sans license is legal to a point, think a few states might disagree though), and the regulations involved make setting up shop a bit more difficult than setting up a still in the garage.


For starters, a still has to be in a separate structure from a residence, so you'd need a shed in the back yard or a detached garage...


Well, we also license drivers and doctors. I don't know what a craft distiller's license actually involves, but hopefully it requires a certain amount of cleanliness and correct separation of the alcohol.


It's an artifact of prohibition that was later captured by commercial distillers as a way of reducing competition.



This is a cool list, but I'd just remark that most of the distilleries on it are small indie brands with regional (or no) distribution. When you get down to the distilleries on this list with 10 or 20 brands, you're often looking at some of the best regarded whiskeys in the US.

If you read whiskey nerd blogs, you'll sometimes even pick up a backlash against bespoke indie distilleries; whiskey being much easier to do than to do well.

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I got invited to a whisk[e]y thing at blackhat; is it worth getting one of the special glasses or will commonly available glassware do?


Well they are obvisouly going to be worth a few $$$ just because they sell so much of it.

But the cynical engineer in me assumed that all the "Billy-Bob still pisses in every barrel just like his grand-pappy did in 1869" type advertising, meant that it was actually made in a chemical plant in New Jersey by Union Carbide!

Must admit I've never tried the stuff - always worked on the principle that if it's not a single malt made on Speyside it's not worth drinking.


If you like Speyside scotches, there are almost definitely a bunch of Bourbons you like too. Mild Speysides are as close as Scotland comes to Makers Mark.

Jack Daniels is distilled in Lynchburgh, TN. You can visit them.

I doubt Jack Daniels is going to blow you away. I don't even mix with it. But it's thoroughly drinkable, in the same way that a Coke on ice on a hot day is drinkable even though its origins are dubious (way more so than Jack Daniels).

Also: just because something is easy to find doesn't mean its integrity is compromised. You can get Three Floyds Alpha King in most supermarkets in Chicago. Three Floyds is still a very, very serious brewery, and Alpha King is a serious beer.


Based on how you describe yourself you're right not to have tried JD, you probably wouldn't like it - personally I only drink it with coke when I'm out drinking, not for taste.

But I think limiting yourself to Speyside is foolish. The fact that you do this makes me assume you've tried single malts from other areas, and I also presume that you didn't just try one once and jump to the conclusion that everything not Speyside sucks. So maybe you don't need this advice, but I'll give it anyway.

I'm a big Speyside fan, and most of the time I buy a reasonably expensive bottle that's where it's from, but there are some great bottles from other areas, in particular (for me at least) Islay and the Islands. Talisker for example is like no whisky I've ever drunk, but is pretty fantastic. Laphroaig and Ardbeg are two Islays that have some really nice releases, and even Bowmore, despite being a brand best known for cheap and average bottles in supermarkets, have a few decent ones.

Oh, and even outside Scotland you might be surprised. Ever tried Yamazaki from Japan?


The speyside was a nod to anyone out there that can pronounce Edinburgh and doesn't think that Scotland is in londonshire ;-) And yes Islay malts are wonderful.

I could never understand the "knocking back a drink with a grimace" type drinks though.


Heh, I've spent 95% of my life living in Oxford, I got pretty used to "excuse me, can you tell me how to get to Oxford University?"

What sort of thing are you talking about with the "knocking back.."? For most people the first time you drink any whisky is like that, for many so is the first time you drink beer.


Can you please explain to this dumb American what's wrong with, "excuse me, can you tell me how to get to Oxford University?"


It's not a dumb thing, just lacking a piece of information. Oxford University, and Cambridge too, is not a campus university, it is spread out all over Oxford. When you're stood somewhere near the centre of town (and the centre of Oxford isn't really that big) - which is where most tourists ask the question - chances are if they look around 40% of the buildings will be part of the university, and another 40% will be buildings owned by the university, or by a college, and rented out for profit.

40% is a random figure and probably an exaggeration, but here's a map of the centre of Oxford (i.e. Oxford without suburbs) showing university buildings and colleges in red: http://www.planetware.com/i/map/ENG/oxford-map.jpg (note also how the majority of green spaces are owned by colleges for sport, as well)

Edit: looking closer at that map I see some missing buildings that should be on there, and at least a couple that are smaller than they should be. But I don't know the whole university well enough so maybe there are also some shown too big, or some that shouldn't be on there at all.


Things like tequilla or vodka. The way people seem to drink the stuff despite the taste - rather than inhaling a good scotch


There are plenty of tequilas that are eminently drinkable on taste. Try some top-shelf anejo tequila, it will surprise you.


Same with vodka, there are vodkas out there that aren't horrible to drink.

In response to excuse-me, personally I drink nice scotch when I want to enjoy a drink, but if I'm drunk and getting drunker, why waste money on something good when I'm not going to appreciate it?


There's many good malts outside Speyside. Many of the distilleries round the Western Isles are awesome.


I think I'll go put my money where my mouth is in support of Jack Daniels and pour some over ice.


Good idea; I'm going to buy one with next money I can spare.


Whoah whoah taking this maybe a little bit too far; before we make Jack Daniels the Louis CK of bourbon (presumptive nerd favorite in exchange for one congenial gesture), maybe you should try some Evan Williams Black Label. It costs 2-3 cups of coffee, and is way better.


Now that we're on the subject of bourbon I will share an observation I recently made. Have you ever looked up a bourbon brand on Wikipedia? Because if you do you'll almost certainly find a picture of the bottle, next to a monstrously large pour in a brandy snifter. Doesn't matter if it's shitty http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ten_High.JPG, mid-range http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Buffalo_Trace.JPG, or the nectar of the gods http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pappy_Van_Winkle.JPG

The best part is that they're all by the same guy. A true American hero, if you ask me.


First, Jack Daniels is not bourbon; it's Tennessee whiskey.

Second, if you're going to tell people to drink Evan Williams, at least point them towards the single barrel. It lacks most of the abrasive industrial solvent characteristics of the black label, and if I recall correctly it's still typically cheaper than JD.


You're way off on standard Evan Williams ("black label"). It's very good, even if you don't factor in the remarkably low cost. Calling it "abrasive" or like an "industrial solvent" is way inaccurate. Maybe you're just used to very mellowed and sweet sipping whiskies. That's fine but it doesn't make brawnier whiskies trash as you imply.

As someone who mixes many of his Manhattans and Old Fashioneds with Williams (alongside Rittenhouse 100 rye), and who has tried it blind against Jim Beam black label, Maker's, and Daniels, I endorse wholeheartedly Eric Felten's take in The Wall Street Journal:

"It's a terrific deal. Most of the [inexpensive] bourbons I tasted were barely adolescents -- Beam, for example, spends about four years barrel aging. But Evan Williams is made of whiskey that has been in oak for five to seven years, and the extra age comes through. The nice spicy rye in the mash also comes through, giving the bourbon a dash of cinnamon that keeps the vanilla sweetness from cloying. Evan Williams is a good, solid, no-nonsense bourbon. " http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120916374801546109.html

I've had the single barrel. It's fine, very nice for sipping. But by no means would I use it in the drinks where I use regular Evan Williams. It's a little too mellow for a cocktail (although Esquire came up with an interesting one - basically a Manhattan made with Lillet blanc instead of sweet vermouth - I think they called it a Yellow Dog. You'll notice Lillet is much more meek than a sweet vermouth, even a relaxed Dolin. That way it doesn't overwhelm the soft nine-to-twelve-years-aged Single Barrel).

(update - here's a link to the Evan Williams Single Barrel cocktail - http://www.esquire.com/features/how-to-give-a-toast-0212)


As I understand it, most American whiskeys don't fare all that well after long aging; 8-12 years is a kind of sweet spot, isn't it?

Dave Wondrich, by the way, is a total bad-ass. His book _Imbibe_ is a supremely readable history and guide to cocktails. Those Esquire cocktail articles are uniformly fantastic.


I completely agree about Wondrich. I'm partway through Imbibe and it's fantastic.

Not sure about American whisky aging, though that sounds plausible.


Are you saying you like Jack Daniels more than Evan Williams Black Label?

I am happy to have provided the opportunity for someone to draw the distinction between "Tennessee whiskey" and "Bourbon", that written point being a regulatory requirement for all message board discussions regarding whiskey. :)


the definition of bourbon varies based on country, but pretty much it's anything over 50% corn based.

The difference in "Tennessee Whiskey" is the charcoal filtration. They pour the whiskey over an enormous pile of charcoal, which provides a unique flavor, independent of standard bourbon. They obtained the legal right to distinguish it this way a long time ago. To me, technically, Tennessee Whiskey could be called bourbon, but bourbon should not be called Tennessee Whiskey without this process. IE, square/rectangle relationship.

After the charcoals, it goes to the barrels, and anything that ages appropriately (usually depends on the height of the barrel in the storeroom and the strength of the winters/summers) between, I think, 3 and 7 years becomes JD black label. If it hasn't aged after 7 years, it becomes green label. Gentlemen Jack gets put through the coals twice, and single-barrel is well, single-barrel.

If you haven't been to Lynchburg, I recommend it. It's an awesome tour.


What is JD Double Black? My dad bought me a bottle - he told me that it means it tastes even smokier than black label, but I wonder what that means in terms of the production process.


Surely charcoal filtration not coal?


Yeah, charcoal. Fixed - sorry about that.


Last I tried the two I'm certain I'd have said that, but I'm willing to give it another go. It's been quite some time since I had either one (these days I mostly drink scotch or rye). I certainly wouldn't put JD black above the EW single barrel.


:) I'm new to those kinds of beverages. I tried JD a few times before and liked it. Thanks for the recommendation, I'll definitely check it out. Anything else worth trying out?.

I do try to follow the principle of "voting with one's money" though, so I think it is only fair for me to show the appreciation for this JD move by buying a bottle.


Well, next time I make my bourbon BBQ sauce, I know what's going in it. This sort of responsible behaviour needs encouraging.


That sort of responsible behaviour encourages responsible drinking of their product!


Wasn't this submission link a Boing Boing article just 15 minutes ago? What the hell is going on HN? Not only the title renaming frenzy, but now the submission links change? I'm really confused...


They are being nice because it's protected under "parody" free speech and they'd lose.

I don't drink so I am not very familiar with their label but I definitely don't think of JD when I see it.


You mean parody fair use. Tricky, and thus risky, and so probably not worth it. Jack Daniels has a very distinctive brand, and the publisher used it to promote a commercial product.

So, for example, a risqu� parody of an L.L. Bean magazine advertisement was found not to constitute infringement. L.L. Bean, Inc. v. Drake Publishers, Inc., 811 F.2d 26, 28 (1st Cir. 1987). Similarly, the use of a pig-like character named "Spa'am" in a Muppet movie was found not to violate Hormel's rights in the trademark "Spam." Hormel Foods Corp. v. Jim Henson Prods., 73 F.3d 497 (2d Cir. 1996). On the other hand, "Gucchie Goo" diaper bags were found not to be protected under the parody defenseGucci Shops, Inc. v. R.H. Macy & Co., 446 F. Supp. 838 (S.D.N.Y. 1977). Similarly, posters bearing the logo "Enjoy Cocaine" were found to violate the rights of Coca-Cola in the slogan "Enjoy Coca-ColaCoca-Cola Co. v. Gemini Rising, Inc., 346 F. Supp. 1183 (E.D.N.Y. 1972). Thus, although the courts recognize a parody defense, the precise contours of such a defense are difficult to outline with any precision. [em mine]

Your point is well taken though. It's probably not a slam dunk case.


To be a parody you have to be paroding the thing you are copying, not using it to parody a third party. The defense is intended to stop ACME company preventing you saying "Boycott ACME" by claiming ownership of the name. It doesn't allow you to copy ACME's fine range of anti-roadrunner products to protest against something else.

For example Weird Al's songs are parodies but they aren't protected because he is parodying the Amish NOT Coolio.


Weird Al isn't parodying the artists he parodies? What?


In the strict first amendment sense - no he isn't (with the possible exception of the Nirvana one)

The parody protection is very narrowly defined, mainly to stop the target using it to squash opposition. You can't automatically use artist X's tune/style/etc to parody politician Y. And just making your own funny version of something is definitely not


The first amendment has nothing to do with this, as far as I know. The question of parody is entirely in the realm of copyright/trademark law.

Can you give more information about how parody is defined in the context of fair use here? My understanding is that Weird Al would be completely within his rights to make all of his parodies without permission from the original artists, and that he only seeks there permission out of courtesy and a desire to maintain a good relationship with people. The Wikipedia page backs me up on this, although we could both be wrong.


In Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music Inc. the 'live2 crew' won on their parody of "Pretty Women", because they were making a comment on the original song. While family guy lost "when you wish upon a weinstein" because they merely appropriated the "when you wish upon a star" song to comment America's stereotype of Jews. But they weren't saying anything about the song.

Basically I can parody your work to make a comment on it. I can't appropriate it to parody someone else.

Weird Al gets permission from the artist - but that's mainly a, don't cause trouble, keep the record company happy.

He would still have to pay for the rights to the music owners when the song is used, although the owner of the music rights may well not be the artist. Which is why some songs are performed live but not on the albums - the payment for singing "happy birthday" at a concert is very different from putting out a cd of it.

ps - I am not a lawyer - although my dog has been trained to piss on their BMWs



I wonder if they wrote such a friendly cease-and-desist letter to Rockbaren in Gothenburg, Sweden. According to the new owner of the night club, this had already been played out between the old owner and JD. Seems not!

http://www.goteborgdaily.se/news/jack-daniel-s-to-sue-gothen... http://www.rockbaren.com


Unsurprising. Not only are there literally hundreds of liquor bottle designs to choose from and this one chose Jack Daniels because of its obvious brand association with rock & roll, but this is a club that prominently displays other liquor brand sponsorships under an umbrella of a design derived from a competing brand.


Exactly my thought, they have been keeping going on with this for a long time now. It seems reasonable, the resemlence is really striking


There's a surprising number of cynical replies to this letter. I have two considerations in response:

1. Did the JD lawyer expect the letter to be publicly displayed when he wrote it? I think it's unreasonable to expect this.

2. Even if it is some sort of PR stunt, why is this a bad thing? Is it even possible to have a mutualistic relationship between consumers and companies any more?


I was thinking perhaps there's a willfulness argument to be built on an infringer refusing to alter a design even when the trademark owner offered to subsidize the alteration.

Also, as pointed out cross-thread, when your argument is uncertain, it pays to be nice.


I really love this approach, and I hope that my fear of the outcome of this is an irrational one. By not qualifying the offer to "just this once"/whatever I fear they may inspire more copycats and prove to the rest of the trademark gatekeepers, that being respectful and helpful just invites more infringement.

I can only remember seeing Ben & Jerry's doing this with a C&D request before, but I'm sure there have been at least a couple more companies willing to forego "more effective" intimidation for the "small" chance of creating an ally. It seems to me to have more to do with an overwhelmingly strong culture in those companies to be great at what they do rather than beating everyone else at what they do. Kudos to Christy Susman and anyone else that gave her the freedom to make these choices instead of taking the "easy" way. It gives me hope.


thats the kind of attitude you have when they serve JD in the water cooler


not as nice as they were in the case of ilovejackdaniels.com:

http://www.addedbytes.com/blog/what-happened-to-ilovejackdan...


In April of 2008, the people responsible for the Jack Daniel's trademark contacted me and asked me to stop using the name "ILoveJackDaniels", and URL "ilovejackdaniels.com", for my site, and to change the logo.

They asked "Dave" to stop using the trademark and he did. Seems nice to me, unless you have evidence of strong-arm tactics that Dave didn't discuss on that page.


It's definitely not the worst, but I don't think they should have asked him at all, and (more importantly) let him redirect the old site for more than a year.


From what I understand, companies are required to defend their trademarks, lest their inaction be used to indicate tacet approval of use in court.

More importantly though, they own the trademark and have the right to decide what can be explicitly linked to their brand. Even if the site wasn't making money off of it (to be honest, I'm not familiar with the one in question) the fact that it was using the JD name in a way JD didn't like warrants a C&D.

So yes, they could have been nicer, but they were in the right, and I don't think their request was unreasonable.


That lawyer sets a great example to follow.


I personally applaud JD for their gentlemanly approach to sending legal letters.


This is pretty great marketing for the first edition.


Besides being polite this letter provides two remedies that are unusual, and I think there might be a potential third that would make these cases much less contentious.

First off, it doesn't demand a removal of the book for sale, but merely requests that the next printing have a different cover. That's a huge step forward, and since the need here is to protect the trademark ability of the brand, outrageous demands really aren't' called for. Offering to pay for the cost of changing it if they are willing to do it earlier, is also a generous remedy that protects the brand. The violator doesn't lose money, and the act of paying for the remedy is an act of protection.

I wonder if there isn't a third remedy in cases like this, where it isn't flagrant violations: That being licensing the brand.

Certainly trademarks are licensed all the time- coca-cola licensed clothing is a good example. So, someone using your trademark under license doesn't undermine the ability to protect the mark.

Thus they could have offered to license the mark (as a third possibility) for a reasonable fee. The fee would have to be industry standard (e.g.: "You can use it for $1" would undermine their ability to protect the brand) but I imagine for mildly infringing or only partially infringing situations like this the remedy is probably not too high.

Not that the publisher of this book would likely want to take them up on it, but maybe given the books content in some cases that might be preferable-- where the infringement on the brand has positive economic value for the book, and everyone makes out ok.

The trademark is protected, and the publisher makes a bit more money by being able to use this design than they would if they had to do something completely different.

Further, this activity- of issuing licenses- shows diligence of protecting the mark which enhances its trademark ability. You might not know all the violators of your trademark, but it is the failure to defend the mark that can cause you to lose it. A license is obviously not a failure to defend the mark, and so it helps bolster the mark. (This is what it would seem to me, but I'm not a lawyer.)

Yet I've never seen someone offer to license the trademark to a violator.


Well, licensing will earn them a negligible amount of money, while continuing to promote the notion of a "rock & roll American whiskey label" that just happens to comprise all the distinct elements of the Jack Daniels label; that's textbook dilution.


Is it possible to license a likeness, though? Notice the logo was mimicked here, not copied. It is clearly not actually a JD logo.


If it's a violation then presumably it can be - after all isn't that all a license is, an agreement not to press violations in exchange for money?


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_dress

Rather than trade-mark, this falls more under trade-dress, but otherwise, the same ideas apply. By not objecting, JD might be seen by some as endorsing or promoting the book in question.

If the book were a parody or critique of Jack Daniels, then fair use might apply. If it were satire (and Jack Daniels is not the target), then fair use is less likely to be upheld.


Yet I've never seen someone offer to license the trademark to a violator.

Licensing would probably push the case into another department and out of the lawyer's hands. I wouldn't be surprised if they act out of self interest and prefers to deal with it themselves.


The fact that they even off to help financially is really encouraging. Perhaps they could structure this similar to a product placement deal like you see in Hollywood.


If they were olympic sponsors they would be demanding that he removed the letters "J" and "D" from anywhere they appear in the text of the book


I've trademarked vowels, I intend to sue J.K. Rowling, and all major authors for every AEIOU and occasional Y used. I figure it could be worth millions per novel.


The new laws introduced for the OxxxxxxxICS are ridiculous - it's now a criminal offence to use:

..any two of the following: Games, 2012, Two Thousand and Twelve Twenty Twelve

Or use of any one of them alongside any mention of: gold, silver, bronze, London, medals, sponsor, sponsors

http://www.shoosmiths.co.uk/news/3983.asp


I couldn't find the criminal offense bit. Read more like civil law to me. Did I miss something?


Someone should change their name to "Olympic Games 2012 Two Thousand And Twelve Twenty Twelve Gold Silver Bronze London Medals Sponsor Sponsors Mister Smith", or "Olympic Games Sponsors Mister Smith" for short. Then set up a burger van in collaboration with the Clan MacDonald, somewhere in central London.




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