Parody is a common type of marketing strategy, and has notoriously been prevalent in the cannabis space, particularly with flowers and edibles. However, such use of another’s trademark or trade dress can be a recipe for litigation. The case of Mondelëz Canada Inc. v. Stoney Patch filed recently in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California demonstrates that imitation is not always the sincerest form of flattery.
On July 19, 2019, Mondelëz Canada Inc. (“MCI”), the maker of the well-known Sour Patch Kids candies, filed a lawsuit alleging that Stoney Patch’s branding and packaging of its THC gummies amounted to trademark infringement, trade dress infringement, dilution, and unfair competition. MCI asserts that Stoney Patch’s unauthorized use of similar graphics and packaging will cause consumer confusion and irreparable harm to its trademark rights and “worldwide reputation as a purveyor of high quality, family friendly snacks and candies.” This case is a prime example of an enforcement strategy that brand owners, particularly food and beverage brand owners, employ against copycat cannabis producers and sellers of cannabis-infused products. You can learn more about the case from my recent post on More Than Your Ma®k.