Golden retriever dog sitting on grass

Connecting the Dots in the Dog Toy IP Case

By James Wan

What you need to know (in a nutshell)

  1. An art collective, MSCHF Product Studios, has submitted an unorthodox legal brief supporting VIP Products’ First Amendment victory over Jack Daniel’s Properties, which sought to prevent the sale of a Jack Daniel’s bottle-shaped dog toy.
  2. The group’s brief includes 45 incomplete connect-the-dot images featuring famous trademarks, each sent to a justice or one of their clerks, and invites them to submit brand art. The collective would display the drawings as part of a gallery show.
  3. The brief argues that a ruling in Jack Daniel’s favour could chill artistic expression and harm First Amendment protection. The case will set critical boundaries for courts when balancing free speech, consumer deception, and brand owner rights.

Full Article

A group of 45 academics, interest groups and an art collective called MSCHF Product Studios Inc. have submitted friend-of-the-court briefs supporting VIP Products LLC’s First Amendment victory against Jack Daniel’s Properties over its bottle-shaped novelty dog toy. Not only did they provide the formal legal documents, but they also sent out uncompleted connect-the-dot images with famous trademarks to each Justice or clerk as a way for them to create artwork that the art collective would use at their gallery show. This unorthodox move is pushing back on trademark law which tends to expand into expressive works, making it easier for brand owners like Jack Daniels’ to chill speech instead of encouraging freedom of expression through creativity.

In addition, a reversal could “strike fear” according to marketers who lack the funds necessary for expensive litigation; this was echoed by Authors Alliance and ComicMix brief stating that authors would engage in unnecessary self-censorship rather than risk a costly lawsuit if Rogers test were eliminated or limited just titles alone when evaluating use from trademarks from expressive work. Five first amendment professors declared noncommercial aspects impossible separate commercial parts, thus meaning Trademark laws should not apply since such action is unconstitutional, while five other professors concluded parody is unambiguously joke though one particularly disliked not allowing a trademark to protect itself by preventing others from making fun expense even if done so via vehicle product sold public consumers buying Bad Spaniels Dog Toy something outside scope intentions Lanham Act strict Protection needed where powerful entities can take advantage situation overpowering opposing side ability to express opinion due high costs associated current system resolution conflicts between brands customers constitute important topic upcoming Supreme Court case set 22 March determining boundaries courts must consider balancing free speech consumer deception rights owner marks.