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Jack Daniel’s drops Popcorn Sutton lawsuit

Jack Daniel’s has dropped its trademark infringement lawsuit against rival Tennessee whiskey Popcorn Sutton after the brand agreed to change its packaging.

Jack Daniel’s has dropped its lawsuit against smaller rival Tennessee whiskey brand Popcorn Sutton

The whiskey-maker initially launched legal proceedings against Popcorn Sutton in October last year, claiming the brand’s new bottle design was “confusingly similar” to its own.

Popcorn Sutton whiskey, named after the legendary Appalachian moonshiner who took his own life in 2009 rather than face jail, swapped its mason jar bottle design for a square, broad shouldered bottle with a black label printed with a white “wild west” style font in 2012.

Jack Daniel’s Properties Inc, a subsidiary of Brown-Forman, subsequently filed the lawsuit in Nashville against defendants J&M Concepts LLC and Popcorn Sutton Distilling LLC, with a demand that the Popcorn Sutton bottles are removed from the market.

The complaint read: “Defendants’ use of the new Popcorn Sutton’s trade dress in connection with their Tennessee white whiskey is likely to cause purchasers and prospective purchasers of the product to believe mistakenly that it is a new Tennessee white whiskey product in the Jack Daniel’s line.”

However, it was revealed yesterday that district judge Todd J. Campell had granted a joint motion for dismissal of the lawsuit ahead of a trail scheduled for February 2015.

The resolution was reached after Popcorn Sutton representatives agreed to change its packaging.

Phil Lynch, Brown-Forman spokesperson, said: “Brown-Forman and Jack Daniel’s Properties are pleased that an amicable settlement was reached and that Popcorn Sutton has agreed to change to a new bottle.

“The agreement calls for Popcorn Sutton to stop using the offending packaging by July 1, but consumers may see this existing packaging for awhile as it sells through the retail trade before being replaced by the new bottle.”

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