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The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Jack Daniel’s on Thursday in a trademark battle over poo-themed dog toys that resemble the company’s famous whiskey bottles.

In a 9-0 vote, the justices ruled against VIP Products LLC, which argued that its products — including the whiskey bottle-shaped “Bad Spaniels” toy — were obvious parodies and should therefore be protected as free speech under the First Amendment.

In a narrow decision, the court sent the case back to the lower courts for further proceedings.

Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the court, said the alleged infringement of Jack Daniel’s VIP trademark “falls at the heart of trademark law and does not receive special protection under the First Amendment.”

The tag on the toy’s neck says “Old No. 2″ in reference to the label “Old No. 7” on Jack Daniel’s bottles. The body is also written “Old No. 2 on your Tennessee Carpet” with major label reference “Old No. 7 Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey” on whiskey bottles.

The whiskey maker, which described the problematic products as “poo-themed dog toys,” countered that there was a likelihood of confusion, meaning the product infringed trademark law.

9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in 2020 ruled in favor of VIP Products, saying its toys were protected under the First Amendment, prompting Jack Daniel’s to ask the Supreme Court for further review.

Various companies, incl Nike, Campbell’s soup and American Apparel, filed briefs in support of Jack Daniel’s, saying the appeals court’s interpretation of the law threatens trademark protections that protect the value of iconic brands.

Free speech advocates, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, submitted briefings in support of VIP, saying it was important for people to be able to comment on and mock famous brands.

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