Trademark infringement lawsuits generally fall into two categories. Perhaps the most common is due to a lack of planning. Businesses start using a trademark without any background research to determine whether that mark is already in use. The second most common are the sellers who want to trade off of the success of a popular brand. That appears to be the case with a recent trademark infringement lawsuit filed in Colorado.

A Colorado company is facing a federal lawsuit for selling marijuana infused chocolate. Not because the sweet confections contain cannabis, but because their packaging contains names and colors that closely resemble that of another candy maker—Hershey.

Trademark Infringement Lawsuit

Hershey Candy Co. is suing TinctureBelle LLC and TintureBell Marijuanka LLC, the makers of the marijuana chocolate, for trademark infringement and claims that TinctureBell is selling knock-offs of Hershey’s York peppermint patties, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Almond Joy, and Heath bars.

The edible marijuana makers sell their products under names like Hashees, Hasheaths, Ganja Joy, Buddafinger, Snockers, Dabby Patty, and Twigz. All of which contain packaging almost identical to their Hershey counterparts. Hershey claims that by using these knock-offs, TinctureBell is able to garner more sales by having consumers associate their products with the trust and goodwill of the Hershey’s brand.

Confusingly Similar Standard

There are also concerns among the public that these marijuana-laced snacks are too confusingly similar to regular snacks and candies. There have been claims of children having to go to hospital after mistakenly eating these marijuana snacks.

Hershey is suing for damages, both punitive and compensatory, and hopes that a judge will order the Colorado company to stop selling the items that mimic Hershey’s candies.

Always work with an experienced trademark attorney before adopting a trademark. And remember, trademarks cover more than just words. Trademarks can cover words, slogans, logos, and even sounds, colors, and product packaging (referred to as “Trade Dress”).

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