Supreme Court chews on Jack Daniel's dog toy dispute

Supreme Court chews on Jack Daniel's dog toy dispute

WASHINGTON (AP) — A dispute between Jack Daniel’s and the makers of a squeaking dog toy that mimics the whiskey’s signature bottle gave the Supreme Court a lot to chew on Wednesday.

The question for the court involves whether the toy’s maker infringed on Jack Daniel’s trademarks, and the justices were largely on their best behavior, not picking up on the toy’s poop humor and puns.

Still, with three of the justices either completely or almost totally silent, it wasn’t clear from the arguments whether Jack Daniel’s case is on the rocks or whether the makers of the Bad Spaniels toy had been, well, bad.

Justice Samuel Alito expressed skepticism for Jack Daniel’s arguments. “Could any reasonable person think that Jack Daniel’s had approved this use of the mark?” he asked at one point, suggesting the toy was an unmistakable parody and legally acceptable.

When the company’s lawyer pushed back on the justice’s knowledge about dog toys, Alito responded in part with: “I had a dog. I know something about dogs.” His late springer spaniel Zeus sometimes visited the court.

But Justice Elena Kagan seemed more ready to rule against the toy’s manufacturer. “Maybe I just have no sense of humor,” Kagan said to laughter. “But what’s the parody?”

Kagan, whose dry wit is often on display in the courtroom and in her writing, suggested the toy is simply an “ordinary commercial product” that is trading on the look of the liquor company’s bottle.

Arizona-based VIP Products has been selling its Bad Spaniels toy since 2014. It’s part of its Silly Squeakers line of chew toys that mimic liquor, beer, wine and soda bottles. They include Mountain Drool, which parodies Mountain Dew, and Heini Sniff’n, which parodies Heineken.

While Jack Daniel’s bottles have the words “Old No. 7 brand” and “Tennessee Sour Mash Whiskey,” the toy proclaims: “The Old No. 2 on Your Tennessee Carpet.” The original bottle notes it is 40% alcohol by volume. The parody features a dog’s face and says it’s “43% Poo by Vol.” and “100% Smelly.”

The packaging of the toy, which retails for around $20, notes in small font: “This product is not affiliated with Jack Daniel Distillery.”

Jack Daniel’s, based in Lynchburg, Tennessee, isn’t amused.

“Jack Daniel’s loves dogs and appreciates a good joke as much as anyone. But Jack Daniel’s likes its customers even more, and doesn’t want them confused or associating its fine whiskey with dog poop,” wrote the company’s attorney Lisa Blatt in a filing with the high court.

Blatt wrote that Jack Daniel’s “welcomes jokes at its expense” but that the toy VIP sells misleads customers, profits “from Jack Daniel’s hard-earned goodwill” and associates its “whiskey with excrement.”

At the heart of the case is the Lanham Act, the country’s major trademark law. It prohibits using a trademark in a way “likely to cause confusion … as to the origin, sponsorship, or approval of … goods.” Jack Daniel’s says that’s what the dog toy does. It says a lower court was wrong to side with VIP.

But VIP Products’ lawyer, Bennett E. Cooper, told the justices in a court filing that Jack Daniel’s “seeks to use the Lanham Act to muzzle even VIP Products LLC’s playful dog-toy parody.”

Nike, Campbell Soup Company, outdoor brand Patagonia and jeans maker Levi Strauss were among those urging the justices in court filings to side with Jack Daniel’s. The company also has the support of the Biden administration.


Associated Press reporter Mark Sherman contributed to this report.

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Inflation jumps unexpectedly as food prices soar

Inflation jumps unexpectedly as food prices soar

Inflation jumped unexpectedly to 10.4 per cent in February as food prices rise at their highest rate for 45 years, putting pressure on the Bank of England to further raise interest rates this week.

The rate of Consumer Prices Index inflation was up from 10.1 per cent in January, the Office for National Statistics said, despite the Bank saying last month it believed inflation had peaked from its high of 11.1 per cent late last year.

Analysts still expect inflation to fall over the course of 2023 as sky-high energy bills – the main driver of inflation – start to come down with falls in gas and electricity costs.

Most economists were expecting CPI to decrease to 9.9 per cent in February and say the surprise rise was due to a shortage of vegetables pushing up the price of food, as well as alcohol prices in pubs and restaurants rising after discounting in January.

Economists had been on the fence about whether Britain’s central bank will opt for another rate rise at Thursday’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, following a period of instability in the global banking sector.

But many now think the MPC will increase the base rate by at least 0.25 percentage points, to 4.25 per cent from the current rate of 4 per cent, piling more pressure on borrowers.

Craig Erlam, a senior market analyst for trading company OANDA, said the inflation figures were a “crushing blow” for the Bank.

“Whatever flexibility the Bank of England may have thought it would have on Thursday was wiped out by Wednesday morning’s inflation data and once more, the topic of conversation has shifted to whether 0.25 percentage points will be enough.”

He added there is “nothing that would justify a pause” in raising interest rates, “even against the backdrop of financial stability concerns and the knock-on effects of aggressive rate hikes.”

The government has set a target of halving inflation by the end of the year but economists have warned people face a “two-year living standard squeeze” as a result of tax rises and higher-than-average energy bills persisting.

After the Spring Budget was announced, The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said that the UK should expect the biggest fall in living standards on record, with real households’ disposable income per person set to tumble 5.7 per cent between 2022/23 and 2023/23.

In November 2022, CPI inflation hit 11.1 per cent, the highest mark since October 1981.

Gas and electricity prices were seen to drive November’s overall rise, with food prices experiencing the largest increase since 1977 and the cost of living squeeze remains voters’ main concern.

ONS chief economist Grant Fitzner said: “Inflation ticked up in February, mainly driven by rising alcohol prices in pubs and restaurants following discounting in January.

“Food and non-alcoholic drink prices rose to their highest rate in over 45 years with particular increases for some salad and vegetable items as high energy costs and bad weather across parts of Europe led to shortages and rationing.

“These were partially offset by falls in the cost of motor fuel, where the annual inflation rate has eased for seven consecutive months.”

UK inflation shot up unexpectedly last month as vegetable shortages pushed food prices to their highest rate in more than 45 years, according to official figures


Alpesh Paleja, the CBI’s lead economist, said the outlook for the months ahead is “looking more benign,” but “this year will still be a high-inflation environment for both households and businesses.”

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said: “The reality is that under this Tory government, families are feeling worse off and nothing is working better than it did 13 years ago.

“The cost of living crisis is still biting hard and taxes are rising, yet the government chose to use the Budget to hand a £1bn bung to the top 1 per cent.”

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said that “falling inflation isn’t inevitable,” adding: “We recognise just how tough things are for families across the country, so as we work towards getting inflation under control we will help families with cost-of-living support worth £3,300 on average per household this year.”

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Chevy: Camaro Production Will End in 2024; Not Gone Forever

Chevy: Camaro Production Will End in 2024; Not Gone Forever

A Chevrolet promotional image saying goodbye to the sixth-generation Camaro. It shows an orange Camaro LT1 in front of the words It’s time to pour one out for another classic muscle car name, if you have any left to pour. Chevrolet has announced that the current sixth-generation Camaro will be retired at the end of model year 2024.

“The final sixth generation Camaros will come off the assembly line at the Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant in Michigan in January 2024,” a spokesperson tells us.

“This Is Not The End”

That may not, however, be the end of the line. “While we are not announcing an immediate successor today,” we’re told, “rest assured, this is not the end of Camaro’s story.”

The Camaro name has been retired once before.

The first-generation Camaro appeared for the 1967 model year. The car went through four iterations, evolving from a classic muscle car to a curvy sports car before retiring after 2002.

Chevrolet brought the Camaro name back for model year 2010, with a big bruiser modeled on the lines of the original muscle car. The current model dates to a redesign for 2016. It’s known for a stellar engine lineup, ranging from a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that punches above its weight (putting out a V6-like 275 horsepower) to a 6.2-liter supercharged V8 making 650 horsepower and a noise that will redefine your priorities.

It’s also known, however, for poor visibility and flagging sales.

Rumors of a Much Larger Revival

What could be the next chapter of the Camaro’s story? Last December, reports emerged that General Motors was considering launching an entire Camaro sub-brand. Car and Driver reported that the brand could include three models — a successor to the muscle car classic, a crossover with similar styling, and a sports car based on the Corvette platform but with more linear Camaro styling. All three would be electric.

Gas-Powered Muscle Cars Driving Into the Sunset One by One

We’ve heard nothing else on the rumor since December. But it’s not hard to imagine Chevrolet following Dodge’s lead into the electric muscle car business.

Speaking of Dodge, the company that calls its buyers the “brotherhood of muscle” has announced the retirement of its own gas-powered muscle car. The last Challenger will roll out factory doors at the end of the 2023 model year.

And what a last car it is — Dodge is sending the Challenger off with a series of special editions, including one with 1,025 horsepower.

Chevrolet says a goodbye edition of the Camaro is on the way, too. “The 2024 Camaro Collector’s Edition is a limited-edition package that pays homage to Camaro history, resurfacing the Panther name used during the development of the first generation of Camaro,” a spokesperson tells us.

Chevrolet dropped the Panther name before production because — legend has it — it was too close to the Mercury Cougar name. The word “Camaro” had no meaning Chevy was aware of. But then-Chevrolet General Manager Pete Estes told the press it was the name of “a small vicious animal that eats Mustangs.”

We’ll bring details on the Camaro Panther model when we have them.

With Chevrolet and Dodge bowing out, the gas-powered muscle car isn’t quite dead. Ford plans a seventh-generation Mustang for 2024. But that car, it appears, will be the last of its kind. The list of mainstream V8-equipped, rear-wheel-drive muscle cars still for sale will fall to one sometime next year.

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Bangkok 2023: Peugeot 408 is now an unrecognisable fastback crossover – 225 PS, 360 Nm PHEV; RM360k

Bangkok 2023: Peugeot 408 is now an unrecognisable fastback crossover – 225 PS, 360 Nm PHEV; RM360k

This Peugeot might look like a concept car, but it’s now on sale in Thailand. It’s the all-new Peugeot 408, which is now an unrecognisable fastback crossover. Name sounds familiar? The previous 408 was a conservatively-styled C-segment sedan that was once CKD locally assembled in Kulim. It’s a rare sight, probably harder to spot than Lamborghinis.

Anyway, this new 408 made its debut in June 2022 and wears Peugeot’s new lion head badge proudly on all four sides. There’s no shortage of surfacing and detailing here, which is typical of the flamboyant French brand. If you stare at those 20-inch wheels long enough, you might get hypnotised – I can’t even describe the design. Do u see a ‘Z’ or is it just me? The dashboard is a super sharp rendition of Peugeot’s signature i-Cockpit.

The 408 rides on the Stellantis’ EMP2 platform that also underpins the 308, 508 and Citroen C5 X; the latter is also now a crossover. At 4,687 mm long and 1,848 mm wide, this lion is 64 mm longer and just 7 mm less wide than the Honda CR-V, so it’s a sizeable car. The wheelbase is a long 2,787 mm.

In Thailand, the 408 is available as a plug-in hybrid. The powertrain consists of a 1.6 litre turbo engine with 180 PS and 250 Nm of torque at 1,750 rpm, and an electric motor delivering 110 PS and 320 Nm, juiced by a 12.4 kWh lithium-ion battery located under the boot floor. Total output is 225 PS and 360 Nm, delivered via an eight-speed automatic transmission.

This PHEV system is capable of 63 km pure electric range on the WLTP cycle. Charging it up with 7.4 kW AC power takes one hour and 55 minutes. PureTech 130 (1.2L, 130 PS, 230 Nm) and Hybrid 180 (1.6L PHEV, 180 PS, 360 Nm) powertrain options are available in other markets.

The Peugeot 408 retails for 2,790,000 baht here, which is equivalent to RM361,478. Like the old 408 in Malaysia, this unique beast might also be as rare as the rarest Lambo in Thailand. Price aside, what do you think of the new Peugeot 408 and its unusual format?

GALLERY: Peugeot 408 at BIMS 2023

GALLERY: Peugeot 408 official images

Tags: 2023 Bangkok Motor Show

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EU Drafts Plan To Let ICE Cars Use E-Fuels After 2035

EU Drafts Plan To Let ICE Cars Use E-Fuels After 2035

The internal combustion engine may get a new lease on life in the Old Continent after the European Commission drafted a plan that could allow the sales of e-fuel-powered vehicles after 2035.

The European Union has been moving forward with plans to ban the sale of new internal combustion engine vehicles from 2035, paving the way for an all-electric future. EU countries and the European Parliament agreed to the law last year after months of negotiations but this month, Germany’s Transport Ministry lodged last-minute objections to the law.

Germany has demanded that the European Union allow the sales of new cars that run solely on e-fuels to be legal after 2035.

Read: Porsche, Ferrari Behind e-Fuel Debate That Could Derail 2035 EU ICE Ban

 EU Drafts Plan To Let ICE Cars Use E-Fuels After 2035

A plan drafted by the European Commission suggests that a new vehicle category could be made in the European Union specifically for cars that run solely on carbon-neutral fuels. The plan, viewed by Reuters, adds that vehicles would need to use some kind of “fueling inducement system” that would be able to determine the type of fuel used and prevent the vehicle from operating if it was fueled with anything other than an e-fuel.

The European Commission’s insistence on the use of this fueling inducement system is problematic for Germany as it could force car manufacturers to develop all-new engines. Sources claim that German Transport Ministry Volker Wissing wants to see improvements made to the European Commission’s plan. The involved parties could look to secure an agreement before this week’s EU summit.

Italy has also expressed opposition to the EU’s plans. It is understood that Porsche and Ferrari are among those car manufacturers hoping that combustion engines can thrive beyond 2035 as both brands are investing in synthetic fuels.

 EU Drafts Plan To Let ICE Cars Use E-Fuels After 2035

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Pengusaha stesen minyak di JB didenda RM40k kerana benarkan kenderaan asing isi petrol RON95

Pengusaha stesen minyak di JB didenda RM40k kerana benarkan kenderaan asing isi petrol RON95

Gambar hiasan

Akibat membenarkan kenderaan asing mengisi petrol RON95 bersubsidi, seorang pengusaha stesen minyak didenda sebanyak RM40,000 oleh Mahkamah Sesyen Johor Bahru, lapor Astro Awani.

Pemilik stesen minyak berkenaan, Phan Chib Chan, 59 tahun dikenakan hukuman tersebut selepas mengaku bersalah atas satu pertuduhan melakukan kesalahan itu empat tahun lalu. Pertuduhan itu dibacakan dalam bahasa Mandarin di hadapan Hakim Mahkamah Sesyen Johor Bahru, Datuk Che Wan Zaidi Che Wan Ibrahim.

Laporan akhbar berkenaan menyebut, mengikut fakta kes Chib Chan didakwa melakukan kesalahan itu di stesen minyak miliknya yang terletak Jalan Tun Abdul Razak, Susur 4 Johor Bahru pada 13 Mei 2019, lebih kurang jam 10.40 pagi.

Dia didakwa membenarkan pengisian petrol bersubsidi RON95 ke atas kereta jenis BMW bernombor pendaftaran Singapura, sebanyak 54 liter bernilai RM113.30. Perbuatan itu melanggar peraturan 12A Peraturan-Peraturan Kawalan Bekalan 1974, suatu kesalahan di bawah Peraturan 21(1) peraturan sama.

Kes ini dikendalikan Timbalan Pendakwa Raya Kementerian Perdagangan Dalam Negeri Dan Kos Sara Hidup (KPDN), Muhamad Sabiq Muhamad Subri dan Raja Nor Iklas Raja Ariff. Dalam penghujahan berkenaan, Raja Nor Iklas memaklumkan ini bukan pertama kali Chib Chan didapati bersalah kerana sebelum ini dia telah dua kali dikenakan kompaun atas kesalahan yang sama.

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