Is Your Cannabis Logo Legal?
By Hunter Saab
Thinking of a new logo for your cannabis business?
Maybe you already have one and want a re-design. Or maybe you have a cheeky logo and packaging that is similar to a big corporation or brand and you think it’s funny. Well, it’s not. Especially if you are slapped with a giant financially draining buzz kill lawsuit.
Many cannabis companies have logos or packaging designs that are similar to pop culture references or companies that are outside of the industry familiar to mass audiences.
What's the problem with this?
These logos are often in violation of trademark or copyright laws. Instead of bringing something new to the table, they try and capitalize on mainstream brands. But more often than not, this ends up being a legal nightmare.
Don't be one of these companies.
Learn from other's mistakes by checking out these cannabis logos or packaging that went under fire for copyright or trademark infringement:
Denver Metro Chamber or Commerce vs Cannabis Chamber of Commerce
Take the The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce vs Cannabis Chamber of Commerce case, for example. Denver Metro Chamber claimed that the “C” from the state flag and the image of the mountains and half sun were too similar in design. Denver Metro Chamber requested that the a judge ban use of Cannabis Chamber’s logo and demanded financial damages.
Toys R Us vs Buds R Us
Another recent example is Buds R Us vs Toys R Us.
A dispensary located in Detroit, Michigan named Buds R Us featured their logo with a giraffe in a car with a large cone joint hanging out of his mouth. Not only did their name sound strikingly similar to the toy company, the dispensary also incorporated Toys R Us' giraffe.
Buds R Us received a letter from Toys R Us stating that their logo infringed on intellectual property with Geoffrey the Giraffe. Buds R Us said they were surprised that they were being targeted and thought their logo would be funny to their customers.
This case is a great example why you need to be very conscious of how you brand your cannabis business.
Starbucks Corporation vs James Landgraf & Hitman Glass
Did you know James Landgraf, an artist who designed a water pipe that looks identical to Starbucks’s Frappuccino cups, was ordered by A U.S. District judge to repay not only $300,000-$410,800 for copyright infringement but also $99,000 for trademark infringement and $11,580 for attorneys fees!
Starbucks claimed that Landgraf and Hitman Glass, are responsible for selling and distributing the “Dabuccino” bong with a almost identical Starbucks logo and green straw.
This case shows that even if you are a glass artist, you also can be under fire by corporate giants.
The Hershey Co. vs TinctureBelle LLC
Can we all agree that creating knock offs is not a good idea in the cannabis industry?
Hershey Co. filed a federal trademark infringement lawsuit against TinctureBelle LLC. The lawsuit alleged that TinctureBelle's Ganja Joy, Hasheath, Hashees and Dabby Patty resembled Hershey’s products.
The settlement required TinctureBelle to stop using those names and Hersey's brown, yellow and orange coloring for its product packaging.
TinctureBelle claimed in court filings that it stopped making edibles that mimic Hershey candy before the lawsuit was filed. Hershey said that the edibles' packaging confused consumers, including children.
You can only image the logistical nightmare for TinctureBelle LLC.
Luckily, this doesn't have to happen to you.
The best way to not end up like the these cannabis companies is to make your company or brand unique. Don't base your identity around a brand similar to a major corporation. Think outside the box.
Looking to rebrand your logo? Need a new logo design for your new cannabis business? Contact us below to learn more about your cannabis logo design.