Remember the most polite cease and desist letter ever written, the one from Jack Daniel’s to author Patrick Wensink, who the company felt was infringing on its trademarked label?
To refresh your memory, this is from the letter:
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. Given the brand’s popularity, it will probably come as no surprise that that we come across designs like this on a regular basis. What may not be so apparent, however, is that if we allow uses like this one, we run the very real possibility that our trademark will be weakened. As a fan of the brand, I’m sure that is not something you intended or would want to see happen.
Jack Daniel’s offered to help with costs associated with a new cover design, though Wensink’s publisher vowed to turn down any “sweet corporate booze money to redo the cover.”
Still, Broken Piano for President does have a new cover, this time based on Bull Run Distilling’s Temperance Trader bourbon — and with the blessing of the company to boot. Bull Run is mentioned on the new cover.
What do you think of the new look?
Wensink’s experience reminds authors, even self-published or those with an independent publisher, of the importance of respecting registered trademarks and that some companies are always ready to defend their brands, even if it is with a nicely worded letter.