We mentioned 1st Amendment issues before, i.e. 2 August 2013 “Oh my word!” which addressed the ludicrous Seattle government’s attempt to ban what they and they alone deem as “disruptive words”…such as “citizen.” Our article today is a follow on satire…of sorts.
Not always are Bill of Rights infringements undertaken by government. Sometimes they would be grabbed away by big-business…which has now fully grafted itself into our government by the shadows of financial “arrangements”. They already own our so-called free elections outright. They routinely control tax exempt favoritism; and money supply; and even foreign policy. Now apparently they will have the English alphabet and even the color spectrum itself, if permitted.
Enter the massive multi-national spirits conglomerate Brown-Forman with its legal gunslingers. They demand seizure of stuff that belongs to a small distillery in Tennessee. Popcorn Sutton’s is in their extortive legal gun sights under a trumped up claim of trademark infringement. Reported by the Associated Press (AP), Brown-Forman’s flagship brand, Jack Daniel’s, alleges Sutton’s Tennessee White Whiskey (i.e. moonshine) has ripped off their label design. They further allege Sutton’s brand “confuses” consumers into believing that it is associated with Jack Daniel’s.
Thus, Brown-Forman’s guns have surrounded the small homestead, and now essentially demand that the entire local distillery, its product, assets, the whole caboodle must be surrendered up to them. This form of legal extortion can bankrupt the small guy, and they know it. But, they covet Popcorn Sutton’s deed just like ruthless cattle barons of yesteryear. To take it, they allege Sutton’s used “similar fonts,” a similar bottle shape; and even the use of a black label with white lettering. Apparently, use of black and white must be restricted by the courts to Brown-Forman’s exclusive control. Ditto “square” geometry.
This leads us to inquire. What lettering upon a black label do they realistically believe is permissible to others? For if not white lettering, then how do they suggest such a label be legible? The question as we see it is this: Does the Jack Daniel’s trademark grant exclusivity over the use of black and white? If true, then there are a number of kindergarteners, yard sales and church bingos that had best beware too.
We have looked at the two labels (provided in the AP release), and quite frankly do not see the “similarity” of fonts, or even design, as the guns allege. We’re not so confused as the Brown-Forman guns claim. Whether the “square” bottle is similar we cannot say; but we note a lot of similar square bottles are already in existence. Brown-Forman protests too much, we’thinks.
The AP referenced a similar case in Vermont, one where a Vermont local produce grower contracted a local tee shirt silk screen shop to print up shirts saying… “Eat More Kale” back in 2000. Chic-Fillet International—which branded the poorly spelled “Eat Mor Chicken”—took issue and expended great gunnery efforts to try and run the kale grower and tee shirt printer out of town. But every once in a great while, an independent tough cuss says no to such extortion. Live Free or Die, as it were. As we understand Chic-Fillet failed.
Too much freedom (including freedom of expression) has already been usurped by the unholy alliance of mega-corporations melded into government, which includes the courts. Under legal parasitism, the People are commonly trampled and buffaloed by hired gun attorneys—bled dry. Our legal system long ago gave up any pretense of equality. Small guys, frankly, rarely have fair shots in it. Still, we will exercise our 1st Amendment right. Consider us filing amicus curiae brief. It will be laconic, to wit: “Pu-lease. Seriously?”