Now that marijuana has been approved for recreational purposes in states such as Arizona, edible cannabis companies are creating products and trying to be creative. However, some are copying established candy brands’ look and feel. This is not cute, funny, or creative, but those companies are in fact violating long-standing trademarks.
They can be sued. Big time.
Brands, Trademarks and Packaging
Some marijuana companies are packing edibles in wrappers that resemble candies such as Skittles, LifeSavers, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. That includes brands, colors, graphics, and lettering style.
Some are blatant violations.
The New York Times wrote a piece about the issue. You can read the nitty gritty here.
Understandably, candy companies are taking legal actions against these trademark and intellectual property violations.
This is happening in different parts of the USA. Attorney Marcos E. Garciaacosta had taken calls from edible cannabis companies getting “cease and desist letters” from candy makers.
Attorney Marcos’ Legal Advice
First, our legal advice to marijuana companies? Drop the infringing brands. Drop the trade dress and all the packaging elements. It is illegal, and it is amateurish. You are telling people you take advantage of other’s property (intellectual property). It means you are not business savvy.
It is a wrong move that does not make good business sense.
Second, marijuana edible companies must consider the economic power of many of the candy companies. The most known are part of big food conglomerates with trademark and intellectual property counsel on staff.
In addition, since candy makers do not want to be associated with drugs, they are fighting back ferociously. Infringers look very poorly as community members. Cannabis companies wouldn’t want to be accused of marketing adult products to kids and underage individuals.
Third, the worse scenario: kids and underage individuals may consume marijuana edibles by mistake, lured by the packaging. They may land in a hospital and sue.
Lastly, responsible cannabis companies oppose the use of similar candy brands in edibles. They do not want to be accused of any wrongdoing.
About Attorney Marcos
Marcos E. Garciaacosta is a business, trademark, and intellectual property attorney. He advices many companies, including the cannabis industry to be responsible and follow the law. Attorney Marcos offers free 15 minutes phone consultations. Schedule yours calling me at (480) 324-6378. Or e-mail us at [email protected]