Chocolate makers Hershey have filed a federal trademark infringement suit against a marijuana dispensary in Seattle saying some of the products it carries are potentially confusing for consumers, KIRO-TV reported.
“Consumers depend on our brand names to represent a level of quality and dependability,” Hershey spokesperson Jeff Beckman was quoted as saying. “These entities have used Hershey’s trademarks, without authorization, to trade on Hershey’s goodwill and reputation, and to draw greater attention to their products; these unauthorized uses of Hershey’s trademarks also make the products more appealing to children.”
The lawsuit calls for the Seattle Conscious Care Cooperative (SCCC) to stop selling the “Reefer’s Cup” and “Mr. Dankbar” brands of marijuana-laced chocolate, saying they were knock-offs of the company’s Reese’s Cup and Mr. Goodbar chocolates, respectively. The suit also demands that SCCC “account for all gains and profits from selling the items,” destroy any remaining inventory, and pay unspecified damages.
Beckman told KIRO that a similar lawsuit was filed in Colorado. Recreational marijuana use was approved in both states in 2012.
An unidentified SCCC employee told KIRO that those two particular brands had been sold out for months.
“It’s not even our product, it’s just something that we carry,” the employee said. “So it’s a vendor, it’s not even us.”
However, the employee said she could not identify the vendor.
Conscious Care’s website also carries a product called “Seattle’s Cannabis Kitchen Gold Fish,” which appears to be made in the same fish shape as the Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers. The label for “Kitchen Gold Fish” does, though, contain a note warning buyers to keep the product away from children.
Blake Absher, who manages the New Millenium dispensary near Conscious Care, told KIRO that the Hershey’s suit could be the first salvo in a burst of litigation as Washington state’s legal recreational marijuana market develops.
“It’s enticing to use recognition from imagery to make a little bit more money,” he was quoted as saying. “But in the time of social media sharing, it’s hard to keep that isolated.”
Watch KIRO’s report on the lawsuit, as aired on Wednesday, below.