A federal lawsuit filed by the maker of the popular liquor Fireball Cinnamon Whisky (“Fireball”) against Jack Daniels for trademark infringement was dropped just before the New Year after an agreement was reportedly made between the two parties. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, which is owned by Brown-Forman, has seen large increases in sales since their cinnamon-flavored Tennessee Fire hit the shelves. In their November lawsuit, the owners of Fireball, Sazerac, accused Brown-Forman of violating their trademark by using the term “Fireball” in their Google advertisements.
According to Sazerac, when potential customers searched for their Fireball product on Google they were directed to advertisements for Brown-Forman’s Tennessee Fire product instead of Sazerac’s Fireball. The lawsuit accused Brown-Forman of using the term “Fireball” in their advertisements to create confusion amongst consumers in the market and to use the success of Sazerac’s product for their own financial gain.
The day before Brown-Forman was required to respond to the lawsuit, Sazerac filed a motion in a Kentucky federal court to drop their claims. Sazerac’s motion did not hint as to why the company was dropping the lawsuit, but a spokeswoman for the company said that the parties had come to an agreement regarding the dispute. Neither companies agreed to comment about the specific details of the reconciliation.
Sazerac’s lawsuit had asked the federal court to stop Brown-Forman from using their trademarked term “Fireball” as keywords in their online marketing campaigns and generally. Brown-Forman’s marketing campaign for Tennessee Fire, which the Louisville-based company expanded across the country in 2014 and 2015, has been largely successful. Brown-Forman’s second-quarter earnings report for 2015 indicated that a seven percent increase in sales for the Jack Daniel’s family of whiskey was made possible by the success of Tennessee Fire. The report also held Tennessee Fire responsible for a three percent expansion in total net sales for the first six months of 2015.
Since entering the whiskey market in the late 1990’s, Sazerac has caused concern and disruption to Brown-Forman. When it comes to cinnamon-flavored whiskey, Fireball dominates Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire and Jim Beam’s Kentucky Fire in sales. In 2014, Sazerac sold $130.7 million worth of Fireball while Jack Daniels and Jim Beam only sold $43.7 million and $22.5 million respectively of their cinnamon-flavored whiskey. Although Brown-Forman is still the market leader with 12 percent of all whiskey sales in the United States, Sazerac has caused the company to increase their marketing campaigns and compete for sales.
Philadelphia Business Lawyers at the Law Offices of Sidkoff, Pincus & Green Regularly Represent Companies Whose Trademark Has Been Infringed Upon
The experienced Philadelphia trademark infringement lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green serve clients in complex trademark infringement cases. Our seasoned Philadelphia business lawyers have served as counsel for thousands of companies in every kind of business matter. This broad range of experience in all types of business matters has given our team of lawyers the opportunity to fine-tune their knowledge of specific legal areas such as trademark infringement. Call us at 215-574-0600 for a consultation or contact us online.