Landmark Cannabis Intellectual Property Case Settled
Beginning in December, getting high on Gorilla Glue is going to be a really terrible idea.
This week, The Gorilla Glue Co. and GG Strains LLC reached a settlement for a major lawsuit claiming trademark infringement against a Nevada-based cannabis company. The long-established global adhesives manufacturing company, The Gorilla Glue Co., initiated the lawsuit in March, arguing brand confusion between the adhesive company and the purveyors of cannabis.
From The Cannabist:
“By licensing and marketing products under the ‘confusingly similar’ names of Gorilla Glue #4, Gorilla Glue #1 and Gorilla Glue, #5, GG Strains is trading on — and profiting from — the reputation and goodwill the Gorilla Glue Co. built during its 23 years of business, the firm alleged in the March 24 complaint.
“Gorilla Glue Co.’s initial claims for relief included having GG Strains stop using the Gorilla Glue names, logos and imagery; deliver up for destruction any advertisements, signs, clothing or other materials containing the alleged infringing marks; disable the gorillaglue4.com website and transfer the domain to Gorilla Glue Co.; withdraw and cancel any applications or trademarks containing the words “Gorilla Glue”; and pay any and all profits arising from the alleged unlawful acts.
“GG Strains officials denied the infringement claims, arguing that the two brands could coexist — akin to the Deltas (faucets and airlines) and Doves (soaps and chocolates) of the world. GG Strains executives and founders also said they started a rebranding effort to change the ‘Gorilla Glue’ numbered strains to ‘GG4,’ ‘GG1,’ and ‘GG5.'”
If GG Strains truly is infringing on the intellectual property of The Gorilla Glue Company, the courts won’t be deciding. Though no money was exchanged in the settlement, GG Strains acknowledged lawyers’ fees and court costs have already forced about $250,000 out of their coffers.
I think it’s safe to say that we can expect more of these lawsuits mucking up entrepreneurship as the cannabis industry matures into the larger business space. The continuing illegal status of cannabis at the federal level puts it in a strange playing field when it comes to patent and copyright laws. As growth in the market accelerates, we can expect to see more of these lawsuits. No court handed down any decision on this particular dispute, but I’ll be keeping an eye open for future legal precedent.
Want to learn more about IP law in the cannabis industry? Join the International Cannabis Business Conference for the Finance Investor Forum this December 1-3, 2017 in Kauai, Hawaii, where experts will be discussing intellectual property rights and cannabis brands, among many other timely topics of importance for the canna-business professional. Get your tickets today!