Bootlegging and Trademark Infringement

Between 2017 and 2020, Washington DC’s Fraternal Order of Police Lodge bought over 3,000 bottles of Jack Daniel’s® whiskey, engraved the bottles with the Lodge’s logo, and resold them at a mark-up.

A Washington Post article correctly points out that the police were running an illegal interstate liquor sales operation, which is certainly newsworthy, but . . .

What about the trademark infringement!!!!!!!!!!!!

Logo used by the Lodge in ads.

Infringement 1: I’ve written about after-market additions to goods and packaging before. Engraving the Lodge’s logo on the Jack Daniel’s bottles falls on the wrong side of that line and is probably infringing.

Infringement 2: The Lodge ran Facebook® ads featuring the stylized version of the JACK DANIEL’S trademark at the top of the ads. A non-infringing use would just have mentioned that the whiskey is Jack Daniel’s brand in the same size and style of font used for the rest of the ad copy.

Infringement 3: The ads read:

“The Fraternal Order of Police D.C. Lodge #1 has partnered with The Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchberg, TN to create very limited edition bottles . . ..”

Any reasonable consumer would think Jack Daniel’s was officially participating in the illegal sale of alcoholic beverages. It’s hard to imagine a more clear-cut case of tarnishing.

Way to go, D.C. police lodge: Illegal interstate sales of alcohol and trademark infringement.

Shout out to Liz B. for the heads up on the WaPo article.

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