Q&A: Why Is Jack Daniel's Legal Team So Nice?

Photograph by Toby Talbot/AP Photo

Jack Daniel’s is polite. The Tennessee whiskey maker recently sent a cease-and-desist letter to independent book publisher Lazy Fascist Press and author Patrick Wensink, informing them that the Jack Daniel’s-themed cover of Wensink’s novel, Broken Piano for President, violated its trademark. But instead of asking Wensink to immediately change the cover, the company said it was “flattered” by the imitation and asked only that a new cover be commissioned if the book is reprinted. “If you would be willing to change the design sooner than that,” Jack Daniel’s wrote in its letter, “we would be willing to contribute a reasonable amount toward the cost of doing so.” Companies rarely treat trademark violators this kindly. David Gooder, managing director of the chief trademark counsel for Jack Daniel’s and its parent company Brown-Forman, spoke to Bloomberg Businessweek about the company’s good ol’ fashioned Southern hospitality.

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