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Snoop Dogg Faces Trademark Challenges for Marijuana Brand

07 Feb Snoop Dogg Faces Trademark Challenges for Marijuana Brand

Rapper Snoop Dogg, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, is seeking trademark protection for his line of marijuana products called Leafs by Snoop. The logo for his brand – a gold art deco marijuana leaf – was carefully selected in an effort to appeal to “upscale customers,” especially middle-aged women who do not fit the traditional “stoner” stereotype.

Leafs by Snoop products are currently only sold in Colorado.

Challenges From the U.S. Trademark Office

Registration for this mark was submitted to the U.S. Trademark Office in July 2016 and the application was originally denied by the Trademark Examiner because the products being sold, which included hemp seeds, were not legal under the Controlled Substances Act or the 2014 Farm Bill at the time.

Although these products are legal in many states, including Colorado, where Leafs by Snoop operates, at the time they were illegal at the federal level. As a result, the Trademark Office has refused to register a number of marks related to marijuana growth and cultivation. This may change soon because the 2018 Farm Bill made commercial cultivation of hemp legal.

The mark was also denied due to the lack of a proper statement from Mr. Broadus that he gave permission to use his moniker “Snoop” on the product.

In May 2018, however, Leafs by Snoop amended its registration reapplication to limit its requested uses and to include the appropriate permission to use the “Snoop” name.

As a result of these changes, the Trademark Office was able to approve the mark for publication in May 2018.

Challenges From the Toronto Maple Leafs

Although it passed the Trademark Office hurdles and was finally published for opposition in July 2018, Leafs by Snoop is now being challenged by the Toronto Maple Leafs, which filed an opposition to this mark in December 2018.

Despite the care and thought that went into designing Snoop’s logo, the mark is now facing legal challenges from the Toronto Maple Leafs. This challenge is to two elements of the Leafs by Snoop mark:

  • The wide-shaped leaf with three large segments at the top of the mark, which encloses words in a white font
  • The unique spelling of the word “Leafs,” which is normally spelled “leaves.”

This spelling has been used by the team for more than 90 years as a key brand name. According to the Maple Leafs, the similarity of the two marks could lead to customer confusion. This may be an uphill battle for the team because of the differences between the marijuana and hockey industries, as well as the fact that hockey is not particularly popular in America.

The U.S. Trademark Office has not yet made a decision regarding the opposition letter.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice. If you are interested in speaking with a business litigation lawyer regarding trademark infringement, contact Heerde Blum LLP by calling 310-620-7172 or 212-920-5858 or by filling out the online contact form.