Monday, October 15, 2012

Random Thoughts: Cease & Desist - Classy As Jack Daniel's

It is certainly understandable that the companies of today emphasize greatly on protection of their intellectual properties such as trademarks. This is especially so for retail products that hinge on their branding in the market place. The standard response for any trademark infringement would very likely invoke legal actions with threats to sue. However, the folks at Jack Daniel’s, one of America’s most iconic brands, proceeded with something which is quite extraordinary from the run of the mill legal perspective, opted instead for true southern hospitality toward Patrick Wensink, a Louisville-based author of a new satirical novel entitled "Broken Piano For President".

When lawyers of the popular whiskey brand spotted the cover of the book, it looked uncannily identical to the iconic black and white bottle labels used by Jack Daniel’s. But rather than issue legal threats, the company’s lawyers sent him what the author described as the perhaps the world’s most polite cease-and-desist letter.

The letter from Jack Daniel’s attorney Christy Susman reads: "We are certainly flattered by your affection for the brand, but while we appreciate the pop culture appeal of Jack Daniel’s we also have to be diligent to ensure that Jack Daniel’s trademarks 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."

It further states: "Because you are both a Louisville 'neighbor' and a fan of the brand we simply request that you change the cover design when the book is reprinted." Furthermore, Jack Daniels offered to pay "a reasonable amount towards the cost" if Wensink changed the art sooner than the reprinting, including the digital cover.

However, the most critical part of this legal letter was perhaps the fact that it was  written by a decent human being who cared about civility. The act was respectable and classy, just like the Tennessee Whiskey it sells, Jack Daniel's.

Patrick Wensink's, the author of "Broken Piano For President", original post entitled "Whiskey Rebellion" first published on 19 July 2012 can be found at the following link:

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