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Mason v. Jack Daniel Distillery
Alabama Court of Civil Appeals
518 So.2d 130 (1987)
Tony Mason (plaintiff) owned a restaurant and bar where he served a popular drink that he created one night to cure a sore throat. The drink, named a Lynchburg Lemonade, was served in mason jars and mixed Jack Daniel’s whiskey, triple sec, sweet and sour mix, and 7-Up. Mason told only the bartenders this recipe, required that no one else be told the recipe or ingredients, and required that the drink be made outside the view of customers. The drink was so popular that Mason renamed his band after the drink, and the drink made up a third of the restaurant’s total alcohol sales. Winston Randle, a representative of Jack Daniels Distillery (Jack Daniels) (defendant), visited Mason’s bar and tried the drink. Mason told Randle a part of the recipe in exchange for using Mason and Mason’s band in the drink’s marketing. Within a year, Jack Daniels developed a national advertising campaign for Lynchburg Lemonade that did not include Mason or his band. Mason sued Jack Daniels for trade-secret misappropriation. A jury trial found that the recipe was a trade secret and returned a verdict for Mason for $1. Mason appealed the damages verdict, and Jack Daniels appealed the jury’s finding that the beverage was a trade secret.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Holmes, J.)
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