Jack sues hard cider company for copyright infringement

Jack Daniel’s Distillery recently filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in a Tennessee federal court claiming that the Jack’s Hard Cider label infringed on their federal trademark and could confuse consumers. (Images Provided)

When you’re one of America’s most iconic brands, you often need to aggressively defend your trademark and that’s exactly what Lynchburg’s Jack Daniel’s Distillery does on the regular. According to the National Law Review, the Jack Daniel Distillery recently filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in a Tennessee federal court alleging that the makers of Jack’s Hard Cider infringed on the distillery’s trademark rights for “Jack” on their hard cider cans.

Ready-to-drink canned cocktails are a boom happening among many long-establish alcohol brands, including Lynchburg’s Jack Daniel’s Distillery. In March, Brown-Forman announced the wide release of their popular Jack Daniel’s Canned Cocktails series to shelves nationwide following the highly successful regional launch in select states in 2020. The varieties – Jack and Seltzer, Jack and Cola, and Jack, Honey, and Lemonade – hit shelves in all 50 states in the summer of that same year. {To read our full coverage of that release, click here.}

According to Grand View Research, the global ready-to-drink cocktail market was valued at $782.8 million in 2021 and demand is only going up. Jack Daniel’s isn’t the only spirits player to enter the market. In May 2020, Absolute launched a variety of canned vodka soda iterations and brands like Bombay Sapphire and Tequila Cazadores have followed.

According to National Law Review, the Jack Daniel’s complaint alleged multiple infringements across federally registered trademarks the Jack Daniel’s owns including the use of the word Jack for whiskey-related products such as Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Apple and Tennessee Honey. The heart of the complaint revolves around idea the the Jack’s Hard Cider packaging will lead to consumer confusion – especially considering the launch of Jack Daniel’s own canned, ready-to-drink whiskey beverages.

Hauser Estate previously owned Jack’s Hard Cider and faced an opposition against a trademark for Jack’s Hard Cider originally back in 2010. After Hauser abandoned the application due to Jack Daniel’s opposition, the two parties agreed to concessions relating to Hauser’s use of the mark, as memorialized in a 2013 settlement agreement, according to National Law Review. In 2018, Atomic Dog LLC acquired the Jack Hard Cider brand and updated it’s packaging in what Jack Daniel’s claims is a breach of that original settlement. As a result, Jack Daniel’s complaint includes a breach of contract claim against Atomic Dog.

It isn’t the first time our hometown brand has been forced to sue when other brands have presented themselves in way that could confuse customers. In 2018, they sued Lonehand Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey for a bottle that looked a little too like the iconic square Jack Daniel bottle with angled shoulders, beveled corners, and a ribbed neck. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}