In contrast to all of the recent
debacles examples of lawyers losing and/or tarnishing their clients’ goodwill with overzealous lawyering, we have a cease and desist letter from Jack Daniel’s which serves as an example of how one can enforce a client’s trademark without eliciting hate from the client’s consumers.
Via Buzzfeed, we see a reprint of a cease and desist letter sent by Jack Daniel’s counsel to an author who used the whiskey label’s brand to design his latest book cover. You never see something so nice (and in my opinion effective) in a C&D:
We are certainly flattered by your affection for the brand, but while we can appreciate the pop culture appeal of Jack Daniel’s, we also have to be diligent to ensure that the Jack Daniel’s trademark are used correctly.
As an author, you can certainly understand our position and the need to contact you. You may even have run into similar problems with your own intellectual property.
Notwithstanding the author’s potential nominative use defense (I have not seen the book cover, so I cannot comment extensively on that), Jack Daniel’s merely asks the author to use a different design in his book’s subsequent reprint. Indeed, Jack Daniel’s even offers to help pay for the re-design.
So to summarize: Friendly language, some kind words, a lack of unnecessary and insane demands (e.g., profits, immediate cease of use, damages, etc…), and Jack Daniel’s gets to enforce its mark while looking good to everyone involved. A definite win for the brand.
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