A recent lawsuit the maker of Skittles candy against a California-based cannabis company is indicative of a trend our Los Angeles cannabis attorneys expect to continue if marijuana business brands continue to copycat big-name candies.
In Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company v. Terphogz, LLC, the Chicago-based candymaker of Skittles launched an advertising campaign that involved the slogan, “Taste the Rainbow.” The advertising and packaging for their fruit-flavored candy shows the slogan with a large S logo. The company alleges that a cannabis company in Medocino is selling merchandize under the name Zkittlez, with illustrations of its goods advertised as looking very similar to the Skittles candy. On its website, which sells cannabis-related items and goods nationally (as well as to residents of Illinois, where plaintiff is based), it sells goods under the brand name Zkittlez, with the similar logo.
The defendants say they do not engage in cannabis sales, but rather license the intellectual property rights to cannabis companies in California nd Oregon. Defendants say they don’t engage in business in Illinois, run targeted advertising there, or run any companies or have professional contacts there. Three of the board members have never been to Illinois. Plaintiffs say, however, that prior to the website being shut down in May 2021, the Zkittlez branded goods were available for shipment to the entire U.S., with recorded gross proceeds somewhere around $32,000. The Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company is seeking treble (triple) damages for the alleged copyright infringement.
The defendants have tried to get the case dismissed. However in November, a judge rejected their motion to dismiss, meaning the case is continuing through the courts. Continue reading