Hershey sues Seattle medical marijuana dispensary

Quick Facts: 

  • Hershey Company suing for Reese's and Mr. Goodbar trademark infringement.
  • Medical marijuana dispensary using names Reefer's and Mr. Dankbar.
  • Similar lawsuit also filed in Colorado where marijuana was also legalized.

The Hershey Company has filed a federal lawsuit against Seattle Conscious Care Cooperative for trademark infringement, citing issues with their pot products called Reefer's Cups and Mr. Dankbar.

At the Conscious Care Cooperative location in North Seattle, the logos on the doors resembled that of the Sonics. Online a logo of theirs also resembles the logo of the Sounders FC.
Items for sale included many snacks and sweets that looked like Goldfish crackers, Gummy Bears, Cap'n Crunch and Rice Krispie treats.
An employee at the center said they do not have a comment on the lawsuit.
She said the Reefer's Cups and Mr. Dankbars in particular were sold out months ago. She also stated they were not their products, but products obtained from a vendor.
Jeff Beckman, a spokesperson for The Hershey Company, told KIRO 7 they also filed a similar lawsuit in Colorado.
Beckman said:

"The Hershey Company's trademarks are iconic and among our company's most important assets. They are recognized by consumers around the world, and our company has spent as many as 120 years building the trust and equity in these iconic brands. Consumers depend on our brand names to represent a level of quality and dependability. These entities have used Hershey's trademarks, without authorization, to trade on Hershey's goodwill and reputation, and to draw greater attention to their products; these unauthorized uses of Hershey's trademarks also make the products more appealing to children.

We have always vigorously protected our brands and will continue to do so whenever we believe that others have infringed on these valuable intellectual assets."

The Hershey Company is suing to stop Conscious Care Cooperative from selling the products, to destroy any remaining inventory, to recall all existing products in question, to correct their advertising, to account for all gains and profits from selling the items, and to pay damages and attorneys’ fees.

Connor von Difloe, whose family owns a business near the dispensary, said he feels The Hershey Company should take legal action.

He said he wasn’t able to tell when his friends were eating pot candy.

“I've seen them eating chocolate. I'm like, 'Oh, what are you eating?' They're like, 'It's a marijuana chocolate bar.' I'm like, 'Oh. OK,'” von Difloe said.

Down the block from Conscious Care Cooperative, another medical marijuana dispensary, New Millenium, also sells a few food products infused with pot.

New Millennium manager Blake Absher said they do not carry Reefer’s Cups or Mr. Dankbar, but they do sell pot gummy candies and brownies made by a brand called Cap’n Cosmic.

The logo for Cap’n Cosmic resembles the one for Cap’n Crunch.

Absher said, “It's enticing to use recognition from imagery to make a little bit more money. But in the time of social media sharing, it's hard to keep that isolated.”

Absher said he feels the lawsuit is in preparation for the recreational marijuana market, where such trademark infringement issues will be a bigger problem.

KIRO 7 reached out to other food companies whose brands may have been the inspiration for some of the pot products.

A spokesperson for Pepperidge Farm responded, saying, “We were not aware the dispensary was selling this product and will get in touch with them to ask they stop using Goldfish crackers or anything confusingly similar to Goldfish branding.”

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