Candy Giant Mars Wrigley Sues Cannabis Brands Over Copyright Infringement
Global confectionery giant Mars Wrigley has filed a lawsuit against several companies that sell cannabis products in the US and Canada, alleging the companies infringed trademarks for some of their best-known consumer brands. Mars Wrigley said Monday the legal steps are to stop the illegal and dangerous use of their world-famous brands by the illegal cannabis industry in the marketing of THC infused foods.
“Mars Wrigley strongly condemns the use of popular confectionery brands in the marketing and sale of THC products, which is grossly deceptive and irresponsible,” the company wrote in a press release. “Use of the Mars Wrigley trademarks in this manner is unauthorized, inappropriate and must be discontinued, particularly to protect children from accidentally ingesting these illegal THC products.”
Legal action filed in California and Illinois
The company found that THC products sold under the names “Medicated Skittles”, “Starburst Gummies” and “Life Savers Medicated Gummies” were available to consumers in Canada and the US through e-commerce websites. Mars Wrigley said the look-alike products “pose a great danger to the public as anyone, children and adults, could easily mistake the injurious cannabis-infused products for Wrigley’s famous and beloved candy and accidentally ingest the THC in them” on a complaint filed in federal court in Riverside, California on Monday.
Mars Wrigley said the infused products sold by the defendants in the case bear an almost identical resemblance to the branded products. The defendants include the California-based owners of the 2020ediblez.com, ie420supply.com and oc420collection.com websites, Bloomberg reported, noting that emails and phone calls asking the defendants to comment went unanswered.
In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Mars named Wrigley Terphogz and five Illinois-based companies that buy, market, and sell cannabis-infused Zkittlez in the state.
“Mars Wrigley has filed an additional lawsuit in the United States against a company that sells a strain of marijuana and related products under the name Zkittlez that is extremely similar to a Mars Wrigley brand,” the company said. “Mars Wrigley’s legal action in the US and Canada is a testament to its commitment to stop the spread of these harmful THC products.”
In the judicial filing, the company is seeking permanent injunction for all products sold under the Zkittlez brand and wants the company to sell all of the branded goods. Mars Wrigley is also calling for Terphogz to revoke a trademark application for the Zkittlez name, ditch the domain name for the brand, and close related social media accounts.
“Terphogz’s Zkittlez brands are essentially identical to Wrigley’s Skittles brands in terms of image, sound, meaning and commercial impression,” the filing states, citing the similar red packaging for the products as an example.
The company also filed legal action in Canada demanding $ 2 million in damages per trademark infringement for every candy sold, any profits from the sale of products with the infringing brands, and the destruction of all remaining products.
Popular Mars Wrigley brands easy to counterfeit
Mars Wrigley noted that it is not difficult for illegal cannabis operators to develop seemingly familiar products for the unregulated market.
“Like other consumer goods brands, Mars Wrigley brands are used without authorization to make counterfeit THC packaging that is sold empty and then filled with THC-infused candy to market and sell THC products that essentially look like real candy “The company wrote in a statement to reporters that” Mars Wrigley does not manufacture or sell products that contain THC. “
Mars Wrigley said unauthorized use of its trademarks was confusing to consumers and had the potential to undermine goodwill that has been nurtured for generations. The company also said the similar products pose a risk to children.
“At Mars Wrigley, we take great pride in making fun treats that parents can trust to give to their children and children can safely enjoy them,” a company spokeswoman said in an email to CNBC. “We are deeply concerned that our brands are being used illegally to sell THC-infused products and, most importantly, that children are taking these products and getting sick.”