Cannabis in America

Hershey’s Settles Trademark Suit With Hashees Marijuana Edibles Maker

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The Hershey Company has settled a lawsuit and simultaneously protected millions of little children across the country from becoming future cannabis users.

The maker of the legendary chocolate Kiss, Peppermint Patty, and (my personal favorite) Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup settled a suit against marijuana candy manufacturer TinctureBelle LLC. Filed this summer, the suit was in response to TinctureBelle’s “medicated gourmet edibles,” many of which boast names allegedly mimicking those of the Hershey Company’s treats.

TinctureBelle is clever, I’ll give them that. Some of its product names included “Hashees,” “Ganga Joy,” and “Hashheath.” Who doesn’t enjoy a good pun? Well, Hershey. The Pennsylvania-based company wasn’t laughing when it sued the Colorado-based company for trademark infringement.

The purpose of a trademark is to avoid confusion among consumers between two products. Hershey argued that similarities in product names would do just that and expressed concern over maintaining their wholesome reputation as a company whose biggest fans are children.

“The Hershey Company’s trademarks are iconic and among our company’s most important assets,” explained Hershey’s spokesman Jeff Beckman. “They are recognized by consumers around the world, and our company has spent as many as 120 years building the trust and equity in these iconic brands. Consumers depend on our brand names to represent a level of quality and dependability. 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.”

TinctureBelle must now refrain from using names that infringe on Hershey products. According to the Denver Business Journal, this includes the destruction of “all remaining specimens of each product, including without limitation cartons, containers, packaging, wrappers, labels, displays and any other material.”

TinctureBelle owner Char Mayes released a statement asserting that “the lawsuit from Hershey came as a huge surprise to us, because we changed our entire label line approximately six months ago, long before these allegations surfaced.”

With one Google search of TinctureBelle’s products, you will find that the packaging does resemble that of Hershey’s delicious treats. It’s pretty obvious.

TinctureBelle now begins the walk of shame with this settlement. It has agreed to disable an Internet site that had been designed to raise money for the legal battle against Hershey. It promised not to register trademark for the names involved in the suit and will have to pay $25,000 per trademark breach of the settlement going forward.

It seems as though Hershey’s legal department is actually quite busy lately. TinctureBelle isn’t the only company in its path of legal destruction. In June it filed a suit against Conscious Care Cooperative over a similar marijuana-based candy issue. And in September, the Hershey Company filed a lawsuit against LBB Imports LCC over trademark infringement of foreign candy.

Meanwhile, Hershey is playing defense against Mars, which accused the candy company of copying its red-colored packaging.

October’s Halloween holiday can mean many things — spookiness and fear, high candy sales, and now salty executives caught up in some sweet trademark hell.

Alexandra Badalamenti (@AlexBadalamenti) is a Jersey girl and soon-to-be graduate of Fordham University in Lincoln Center. She plans to enroll in law school next year to study Entertainment Law. On any given day, you’ll find her with big blonde hair, high heels, tall Nashville dreams, and holding a newspaper or venti latte.

Featured image courtesy of [slgckgc via Flikr]




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