THC Products and Intellectual Property
THC is part of the chemical compound in cannabis—you may have seen it on all different kinds of products, including even dog treats. But you may have also heard of THC-laced gummies and other popular candies. And that’s where a lot of manufacturers are starting to get concerned, as THC makers are starting to infringe on copyrights and trademarks.
Too Close to Actual Products
To sell or promote THC-laced candies or gummies, a lot of manufacturers are getting very close to exact replicas of traditional candies—at least according to those candy makers. Just last year the maker of the popular candy Nerds, sued a Boca Raton THC company, to protect its trademark, when Nerds alleged that the THC company was producing candies that not only violated Nerds’ manufacturers’ trademark, but also were potentially dangerous to children.
That isn’t the first or only lawsuit of its kind. Many THC makers have used creative names that dangerously mimic well known brands, like “Trips Ahoy” or “Stoney Patch Dummies.” Companies that make Skittles or Life Savers, have also had to sue THC makers.
What’s the Risk?
Candy can be trademarked; the packaging, coloring, shape or design of either the packaging or the product itself, is protectable with the United States Patent and Trademark office. Many of the THC candies are actually shaped like the actual (non THC) products.
Conversely, THC related products have a much more difficult time getting intellectual property protected, and, because of cannabis’ illegality, cannabis-based products often have their trademarks denied by the government.
Manufacturers who own the actual trademarks (like Chips Ahoy or Sour Patch Kids) say that not only are these makers infringing on their trademark, but the design of the candy, the packaging, and the name, also potentially confuse consumers into thinking that the actual owners of these products, are making, endorsing, or producing, the THC laced version of these candies.
That’s a problem—most candy manufacturers don’t want to be associated with THC or cannabis, and more importantly, there is the concern that children, who may not be aware of the difference, could end up taking the THC versions of these candies, causing potential serious harm.
Many of the THC manufacturers that companies say are infringing, are smaller, and often, will sell their product until they are caught, and then will close up shop.
State by State Laws
There are laws that say that THC makers must say what the THC dosage is in the product that is being sold, although those laws are state by state—there is no federal law because technically cannabis is still illegal under federal law.
But that means that manufacturers selling THC products have to comply with a patchwork of regulations from around the country, something smaller companies are unlikely to want to do.
Call our West Palm Beach business litigation attorneys at Pike & Lustig today if you have an infringement case or someone alleges that you are infringing on them.