Whiskey Giant Jack Daniel’s Sues Popcorn Sutton’s Over Alleged Trademark Infringement

Last month, whiskey giant Jack Daniel’s sued small distiller Popcorn Sutton’s claiming trademark infringement.  Popcorn Sutton’s whiskey, which had originally been packaged and sold in Mason jars, has switched to a square-shaped bottle that according to officials at Jack Daniel’s is a bit too similar to their own bottle.

Popcorn Sutton’s Tennessee White Whiskey gets its name from Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton, a famed Appalachian moonshiner.  According to the manager of a Louisville, KY wine and spirits store, the Popcorn Sutton’s whiskey was more of a curiosity to customers when bottled in Mason jars, and a better seller at the time.

In the lawsuit, Jack Daniel’s claims that Popcorn Sutton’s new bottle, which is square shaped with beveled corners and angled shoulders, is “confusingly similar” to its own.  The new Popcorn Sutton white whiskey bottle also contains a similar color scheme with white on black labeling.

A spokesperson for Brown-Forman, owner of Jack Daniel’s, said that the company had taken legal action against both companies and individuals around the world due to infringement on the Jack Daniel’s trademark.

Marvin Sutton, author of a paperback book titled “Me and My Likker,” committed suicide in 2009 in order to avoid going to prison for manufacturing white lightening.  Sutton also produced videos on how to make moonshine, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Popcorn Suttons’ white whiskey is sold in four states including Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, and Tennessee according to the company’s website.  The lawsuit states that except for minor tweaks, the packaging of Jack Daniel’s whiskey has for decades been “a consistent commercial impression.”

Ultimately, the lawsuit against the small distillery seeks an injunction to stop Popcorn Sutton’s from using the bottle; Jack Daniel’s is also seeking damages, although the amount was not specified.

If you are involved in a trademark infringement dispute, our Los Angeles trademark infringement lawyers are ready to help.  The Spotora & Associates website provides more information regarding trademarks, business acquisitions and mergers, intellectual property disputes, contract agreements, and more.

This entry was posted on Thursday, November 14th, 2013 at 2:59 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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