Zkittlez Lawsuit Ignites Cannabis Industry

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On May 3, candy giant Mars Wrigley issued a lawsuit against Ukiah, California-based Terphogz, the company behind cannabis-infused candy Zkittlez, for trademark infringement. In a lawsuit, Mars Wrigley alleges that Terphogz had “simply helped itself” to the company’s registered “Taste the Rainbow” slogan including the stylized “S” found on Skittles candy. The industry is divided on where it stands regarding brands of this nature.

David Downs reported for Leafly that Mars Wrigley Confectionary is the largest gum maker on the planet—completing $33 billion in annual sales in 2015. Wrigley alleges that Terphogz illegally marketed the brand Zkittlez and petitioned an Illinois court to issue a cease-and-desist order Terphogz for the Zkittlez brand, destroy all merchandise, surrender their website and pay attorneys fees.

“Terphogz’s Zkittlez marks are substantially identical in sight, sound, meaning and commercial impression to Wrigley’s Skittles marks. Terphogz uses the same distinctive red color featured on the packages of Skittles candy and the same colors of Skittles candy in connection with advertising, selling and distributing its Zkittlez goods,” the lawsuit reads, as reported by Marketing Interactive. 

According to the lawsuit, sketchy edible makers using counterfeit or copycat Skittles and Starburst packaging in Illinois is what started the whole thing. It’s Wrigley’s third trademark-related lawsuit on the matter.

The lawsuit is going after a lot—claiming that Terphogz’s “freewheeling use” of Wrigley’s property enabled the company to lead a 20 percent premium in the market, gaining “enormous profits.” But they claim that all of the benefits that were reaped came at the expense of Wrigley. 

Zkittlez is most likely an indica-dominant mix of Grape Ape x Grapefruit that is crossed with another mystery strain—for a candy-flavored wonder bred by 3rd Gen Family and Terphogz. 

Amid the controversy—the Zkittlez brand Instagram account rebranded to a “Z” theme. “Zruntz” pre-rolls achieved second place at the latest Emerald Cup. The brand’s Instagram account is now “The Original Z.”

Doja Pak posted on Instagram in defense of the company, that “Zkittlez and Runtz aren’t going anywhere, so don’t even trip. Shout out to my Dawgs for creating waves.”

Many other strains have encountered similar liability issues—including Skywalker OG, Gorilla Glue #4 and Bruce Banner.

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