Pot Shots: Cannabis Businesses Can't Seem to Stop Toeing the Trademark Line – Silicon Valley's Metro

UNFAIR TRADE: Candy giant Wrigley filed a trademark infringement lawsuit this month against Terphogz claiming its Zkittlez strain is a ripoff of Wrigley’s Skittles candies. Photo courtesy of U.S. District Court

Cannabis is, and will likely continue to be, one of the most regulated industries in America, so it is astonishing to see some people stomp into it, giving apparently zero thought to the legal ramifications of their decisions.

Heedless companies violate zoning laws and locate weed farms next to schools or disregard tax rules. Some companies ignore state and local laws and ordinances that govern testing, packaging and store security. 

But the most perplexing, and often funniest, mistake they make is hijacking a well known, non-cannabis, trademarked brand for their own use. It’s perplexing because it’s so obviously wrongheaded, but also because it has happened so often, it seems like people should know by now to steer clear. 

But they don’t. 

In the latest case, candy giant Wrigley filed a trademark infringement lawsuit this month against Ukiah-based outfit named Terphogz claiming that the latter company’s Zkittlez strain is a ripoff of Wrigley’s Skittles candies name. Wrigley became aware of the company when it discovered that illicit edibles were being marketed under the “Skittles” brand, as well as Life Savers and other Wrigley nameplates. There’s no indication that the Zkittlez cannabis strain was used to make candies, but the name alone was enough to put the company on Wrigley’s radar. 

Terphogz doesn’t make edibles (as it pointed out on its Instagram page in response to the lawsuit) but the Zkittlez strain is highly popular and award-winning and its name is rather obviously based on the candy brand. It seems likely it will have to be renamed, joining a large and growing club of renamed products due to the

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