Jack Daniel's Fire and Sazarec's Fireball Go to War Over Copyright Infringement Issues

Dec 10, 2015 07:23 AM EST | By Mikey Blanco

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Jack Daniels is being sued by a competitor who alleges that the company used a Google Ads feature to its detriment. The suit is for copyright infringement. The suit by Sazarec Brands revolves around their product called Sazarec’s Fireball and the Jack Daniel’s Cinnamon-flavored Tennessee Fire.

According to the suit, Jack Daniel’s purchased the rights to the keywords “Fireball'' and ''Fire-ball” which supposedly confuses potential customers of Sazarec Fireball when they searched for those in Google.

Law 360 reported that Jack Daniel’s registered its Fire trademark in 2013. The suit also says that Jack Daniel’s use of Google Adwords in addition to purchased keywords to ensure that Jack Daniel’s results would pop up ahead of Sazarec’s Fireball. This causes Sazarec losses in potential revenue.

The lawsuit additionally reads, “It is readily apparent that defendant deliberately chose to purchase ‘Fireball’ as a Google AdWords and include either ‘Fireball’ or ‘Fire-Ball’ in the text and headers of its ads triggered by searches for ‘Fireball’ in order to create a false association with or subversively divert consumers away from Sazerac’s Fireball brand.''

Ads for Jack Daniel’s would be triggered by searches for the keywords “Fireball” and “Fire-ball.” Sazarec says that they applied for rights to the keyword “Fireball” in the years 2004, 2005, 2008, 2010, and 2013. Actions by Jack Daniel’s were a clear violation of this trademark.

Sazarec Fireball posted sales of $61 million in 2013. It had also become the focus of pop culture references, most notably by singer Pitbull. Sazarec is asking for the disgorgement of Jack Danel’s profits associated with the trademark infringement. Also, damages and costs under state and federal trademark laws are being sought.

There are a few differences between the Jack Daniel’s and Sazarec products. For one, Sazarec’s Fireball is sold as “whisky” without the e as is the custom for Canadian whiskies. Jack Daniel’s, on the other hand, is labeled Tennessee whiskey.

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