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Marijuana branding a trademark concern

If you've ever smoked marijuana or been interested in the different strains, you know they have some interesting names. While they're clever and easy to remember, some may infringe on business' trademarks, which is an issue that has recently come up.

With marijuana becoming legal in a number of states, there are other problems starting to crop up. One of those problems is violating trademark. An Aug. 25 report describes the trouble one marijuana grower has gotten into as a result of trademark infringement.

According to the story, the man was trimming his harvest when he noted the sticky nature of one of the strain's resin. He named that stick strain "Gorilla Glue" after the popular adhesive. This strain happens to be in high demand, and the hybrid has won accolades at competitions in Southern California and Michigan.

The fame that comes with a solid product isn't always good, though, because the man now faces a trademark infringement lawsuit that has been filed by Gorilla Glue Co. of Ohio. The company claims the GG Strain business has infringed on its rights and diluted its brand's value.

The outcome of this case will impact the marijuana-growing community. It's been common to name new strains after pop culture, but that could end up getting many companies and growers into trouble. The problem is that marijuana plants and strains can't have a trademark, since the drug is still illegal in federal law. Strain naming, as such, is an informal process.

Once this case is over, it will be easier to see how trademarks will be handled with marijuana in mind. If you're facing allegations of using someone else's trademark, you may want to look into your legal options for defense.

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, "Marijuana brand’s success leads to sticky trademark lawsuit," Alex Halperin, Aug. 25, 2017

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