Jack Daniels (“JD”) filed suit against Dynasty Spirits Inc. and Buffalo Bayou Distilleries for copyright infringement, dilution of trademarks, false advertising, trade dress infringement, and disparaging consumer reviews which hindered JD’s reputation and good will. Dynasty bottles, labeling, and package coloring are claimed by JD to be substantially similar causing consumer confusion (JD claims that Dynasty even asked retailers to place their product near JD product). Jack Daniel’s claims the label and trade dress similarities between these whiskies and its product have and will continue to hurt its brand.   For more, click here.

On Tuesday February 7th a group of Plaintiffs brought a suit against Anheuser-Busch LLC in the Ninth Circuit Court arguing that the brewer’s use of the term “light” on the labeling of the Lime-A-Rita packaging was misleading to consumers as being a lighter alternative alcohol beverage. Since Bud Light is known to be lighter in calories than a regular Budweiser, the Plaintiffs argue that consumers are being misled when the Bud Light Lime-A-Rita beverage actually contains three times as many calories as a Bud Light Lime beer.   According to Law360, counsel for Anheuser-Busch urged the appellate court to uphold the lower court’s ruling, arguing first that the TTB, which regulates alcohol packages, had “expressly” said that the “light” was OK by approving its label, and thus the brewer had “safe harbor from the suit.” So when is “Light” allowed to be classified as “Light”? According to TTB Ruling 2004-1 as amended by TTB Ruling 2013-2, “the words “light” and “lite” may be used as part of the brand or product name of a wine, distilled spirits product, or malt beverage, provided that if the term implies a caloric representation, the label or advertisement must include a statement of average analysis.” The best advice for consumers is to take a closer look at the nutrition labels on the products they consume for all the nutritional content and caloric information and not to rely on descriptive phrases when making nutritional decisions. As for the Bud Light Lime-A-Rita Suit a three judge panel will continue to…

According to Law360, Tiger Paw Distributors LLC, et. al. “may sell booze containing titles of [Jimmy] Hendrix’s songs such as ‘Purple Haze’ and ‘Voodoo Child’ and may include references on the bottles’ labels to Hendrix, but the references must have a relatively smaller typeface and may not infer any endorsement, sponsorship or affiliation with the guitarist’s estate,” as ordered by a Georgia U.S. District Judge. As noted in the Law360 article, Tiger Paw must also never register any trademark that would “directly or indirectly use Hendrix’s name, image or likeness,” and the company must delete videos from its website and social media that may violate the terms of the agreement. The judge’s order stems from the suit Jimmy Hendrix’s estate brought against Tiger Paw, et. al., for federal trademark infringement and unjust enrichment. 

Posted in alcohol beverage law, Lawsuits, Litigation | Tagged Hendrix, lawsuit, Tiger Paw, Trademark | Comments Off