The legalization of marijuana for recreational use in the state of Colorado has sparked several issues that all types of business owners face, from regulation to trademark disputes. Now that Coloradans have voted to legalize recreational marijuana, consumers are demanding edible creations, such as cookies, brownies, and even mints. Like most businesses, these companies invest in marketing and branding, but sometimes they find themselves facing licensing disputes.
A Colorado company that sells marijuana-laced “MED-a-Mints” is now facing legal action for allegedly violating a licensing agreement that was signed in 2012. According to the marketing firm that receives royalties from the sale of “MED-a-Mints,” the manufacturer changed its packaging without consulting the firm. It is unclear whether sales of the product were affected by these changes.
Nevertheless, the Longmont marketing firm filed a lawsuit against the “MED-a-Mints” manufacturer for infringing on its trademark and failing to comply with the terms of the licensing agreement. The “MED-a-Mints” trademark is registered in the state of Colorado, but it is unknown whether it is registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as well.
The “MED-a-Mints” manufacturer alleges that it has always had a positive working relationship with the marketing firm, and it stopped production of the mints as soon as it received a termination letter. The manufacturer also produces a host of other marijuana-laced food items.
Regardless of the type of business they operate, it may be helpful for business owners who sign licensing agreements to seek the help of an attorney who specializes in intellectual property.
Source: Denver Business Journal, “Colorado pot companies bicker over mint trademark,” Dennis Huspeni, April 22, 2014