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HomeSoftware 2023Jack Daniel’s Loses Opposition To ‘Jack And Victor’ Whisky In UKIPO Smackdown

Jack Daniel’s Loses Opposition To ‘Jack And Victor’ Whisky In UKIPO Smackdown


from the getting-jacked dept

Jack Daniel’s, the famous whiskey maker out of Tennessee, is not a complete stranger to silly trademark battles. But it appears that the company may be getting into the trademark bullying game, or at least the trademark lack of comprehending the law game, more and more these days. This post will serve as another example of that, but some throat-clearing is in order, so stick with me here.

Still Game is a popular sitcom in Scotland. Created by two comedians and spanning 62 episodes, the show follows two older gentlemen in Scotland named Jack Jarvis and Victor McDade. Played by the younger comedians, the two old men quip and comment on current events, on pop culture, on matters of sex, and so on. As a result of the success of the show, creators Ford Kierman and Greg Hemphill created their own scotch blend and named it after their two iconic characters, thus birthing Jack and Victor scotch. And when the two sought a trademark registration on the brand, Jack Daniel’s filed an opposition with the UKIPO.

Hemphill and Kiernan had applied to register Jack and Victor as a trademark for whisky and other drinks-related services but Jack Daniel’s lawyers opposed the application. Jack Daniel’s, a Tennessee whiskey, has registered trademarks in the UK for terms including “Jack” and “Gentleman Jack”.

The US company claimed the Still Game whisky could mislead customers into thinking it was endorsed by them and said it would allow Hemphill and Kiernan to benefit from its global reputation.

If you want to be extremely generous to Gentlman Jack and its lawyers, you could allow for the fact that its lawyers may not be familiar with wildly popular sitcoms airing in Scotland. In other words, the company may not realize just how much fame the show and characters have, which would directly negate the potential for public confusion. And if you don’t bother to review the global realm of whiskys/whiskeys, then you may not realize that the two branded bottles below, while having some similarities, are also similar to a ton of other whiskys out there.

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Fortunately, the UKIPO did do its homework and knows just how popular this show was in Scotland. As a result, it ruled against the opposition and is allowing the trademark to proceed to registration.

The UKIPO said the differences between the two brands were “too great” for there to be any confusion and found there was no evidence Hemphill and Kiernan were attempting to take advantage of Jack Daniel’s reputation.

“As to free-riding, the evidence does not establish that there was any subjective intention to take unfair advantage.”

The court also ruled that Jack Daniel’s has to pay Jack and Victor nearly $4,000 in court costs. Not that such an amount is a massive hit to a company like Jack Daniel’s, but it’s at least nice to see a court exact some cost to trademark bullies instead of letting them off mostly free.

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Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a tumbler to grab out of my bar hutch.

Filed Under: ford kierman, free riding, greg hemphill, jack and victor, scotch, trademark, ukipo

Companies: jack daniels, still game


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