Hudson Institute Events Podcast

Jack Daniel’s v. VIP Products Argument Preview: The Supreme Court Takes On Humorous Uses of Trademarks

Episode Notes

On March 22, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Jack Daniel’s v. VIP Products, an important dispute at the intersection of the First Amendment and trademark law. The case concerns VIP’s dog toy that copies Jack Daniel’s iconic Tennessee whiskey bottle, but with the name changed to “Bad Spaniels” and other humorous elements added. Jack Daniel’s claims that the toy infringes its trademarks and trade dress, while VIP maintains that its parodic use is protected expression. The Supreme Court will decide whether the Ninth Circuit erred in applying a First Amendment test that gives broad protection to humorous products that allegedly infringe. It will also address whether VIP’s use is noncommercial and thus immune from liability for tarnishing Jack Daniel’s reputation.

Please join Hudson Legal Fellow Devlin Hartline and expert panelists Megan K. Bannigan, Ben Sheffner, and Vijay Toke for a discussion on the importance of striking the right balance between free speech and trademark protection.