The well-known strain of marijuana called “Gorilla Glue” is being dragged to court because the brand bares the same name as a popular adhesive company, reports Cincinnati.com.
It was recently revealed that the Ohio-based Gorilla Glue Co. has filed a lawsuit against GG Strains, the producer of a highly potent, hybrid pot strain known as Gorilla Glue #4, over trademark infringement. The complaint, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, is calling for the makers of the weed strain to stop marketing the product under a moniker that took the Gorilla Glue Co. decades to establish.
“Gorilla Glue has been using this trademark for about two decades and has invested a lot in building the brand,” Thomas Hankinson, the attorney representing the plaintiff,” said in a statement.
“This is a family-owned company that owes it to its stakeholders, including its employees and customers, to protect those investments,” he added.
The lawsuit is also asking for GG Strains to cough up “any and all profits arising from or related to” the sale of Gorilla Glue #4.
Interestingly, the proprietors of the Gorilla Glue Co. have reportedly agreed to settle the case out of court. But the owners of the Nevada-based GG Strains is concerned that taking the easy way out could put the entire cannabis industry at risk for similar legal action.
“If we settle with these guys outside of court, they’re going to go after everybody,” GG Strains co-founder Ross Johnson told the Cannabist.
A statement issued back in June by GG Strains founders Joesy Whales and Lone Watty suggests that it is absolutely necessary for them to stand up to those corporations “waiting in the wings to see if they get the green light from the courts on this case.”
“We have to draw a line in the sand, and we need to hold this line together or we’ll regret it before this industry has the clout to stand up for itself,” Whales and Watty concluded.
GG Strains believes if Dove Soap and Dove Chocolates have managed to co-exist all these years without going to war, then the world can have a weed strain and an adhesive product under the same name.
This is not the first time a weed strain has been blamed for violating intellectual property rights.
It was not that long ago when some dispensaries began receiving cease-and-desist letters over the sale of a well-known strain of marijuana known as “Girl Scout Cookies.” It seems the Girl Scouts of America were not at all keen on the idea of their largest fundraiser being associated with cannabis.
But unlike the situation with Gorilla Glue, the dispensaries hit with the threat of legal action simply gave in to the request and removed the product from their shelves.
Debby Goldsberry, executive director at Magnolia Oakland, one of the dispensaries that received a cease-and-desist over the branding concern, said it was “a cut and dry trademark issue.”
“A lot of people think you can treat it like a parody,” she said. “But it’s not funny—it’s a violation of a trademark.”
Although GG Strains insists on fighting the Gorilla Glue Co. for the right to keep using the name, the company has reportedly rebranded the strain “GG#4” until all of the legal shenanigans can be hashed out.
If the company loses the battle, a two-year transitional period will be requested in order to establish a new brand.
Unfortunately, no legal precedent has yet been set in these types of matters. But the outcome of this lawsuit will undoubtedly pave the way for growers looking to market new strains.
A recent article from Marijuana Business Daily suggests that the cannabis industry may eventually shy away from strain names and replace them with more exacting information. However, industry experts believe strain names will simply change to provide the customer with a more accurate description of the product’s cannabinoid profile.