Marijuana trademark law continues to make the news. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office still won’t register trademarks for marijuana-related products and services, but that doesn’t mean those businesses don’t have to worry about trademark issues.
It seems that Magnolia Oakland, an Oakland-based dispensary was selling a strain of pot under the name “Girl Scout Cookies.” While my sources indicate that consumers have been known to enjoy pot along with the official Girl Scout Cookies, there is no actual business relationship between the products.
As you might expect, Girl Scouts USA sent a cease and desist letter to Magnolia Oakland. Magnolia complied, taking the products off the shelves and renaming the products. They also advised suppliers and partners (including on Facebook) not to use that brand name.
Magnolia’s Executive Director, Debby Goldsberry, said they “knew it was coming.”
Marijuana-based businesses have to be just as careful as any other business to avoid infringing on another party’s trademark rights. If you are subject to a successful trademark infringement lawsuit, you could be forced to pay damages in the form of your profits, the plaintiff’s lost profits, or a court’s calculation of a reasonable royalty.
With California’s recent vote to partially legalize marijuana, the industry is in a time of unprecedented change. Those businesses that avoid unneeded legal liability will be the ones most likely to succeed in the long run.
Thanks to my friend and fellow attorney Isaac Blumberg for letting me know about this story.