We can’t imagine anyone with even the most basic grasp of the English language would confuse Hershey’s Almond Joy with “Ganja Joy,” an edible marijuana product. Nor do we think anyone will mistakenly buy a “Dabby Patty” thinking it’s a York peppermint patty. But we don’t work for the Hershey legal department, which has sued a Colorado company over punny pot product names that the chocolate goliath believes are too close to its trademarked brands.
The Denver Channel reports that Hershey recently filed the lawsuit in a federal court in Denver, alleging trademark infringement and dilution.
“Defendants, who are well aware of the fame and popularity of these Hershey products and marks, are manufacturing and selling cannabis- and/or tetrahydrocannabinol-laced chocolate and candy products,” reads the complaint, “using names, marks and designs that are knock-offs of Hershey’s famous REESE’S, HEATH, ALMOND JOY and YORK trademarks and trade dresses, in order to increase sales of defendants’ cannabis and tetrahydrocannabinol candy products, draw additional attention to their products, confuse consumers as to the source of their products, call to consumers’ minds Hershey’s famous and beloved brands, and otherwise to trade on the goodwill of Hershey and its brands.”
Hershey also contends that the similar branding and packaging of these products “creates a genuine safety risk with regard to consumers” who may inadvertently eat them, as “Individuals and families the world over trust Hershey and its various brands as signifying safe and delicious treats for people of all ages.”
You have to love it when a company manages to work marketing language into its lawsuits.
Marijuana munchies have been in the news recently, following last week’s admission by NY Times columnist Maureen Down that she’d sampled some while visiting Colorado and that it didn’t go so well for her.
What was probably worse for Dowd than any anxiety she might have felt during her brief freak-out, was the mocking she received at the hands of the Internet for not doing her research ahead of time and probably biting off more than she should have chewed.
The alleged misuse of brand names has also made headlines recently, with a number of big-time cookie and candy companies — General Mills, Tootsie Roll, the Girl Scouts — asking the makers of liquid nicotine products to please stop using their trademarked brand names on their goods.