(Entrepreneur) RooR, a company based in Frankenthal, Germany, makes upmarket water pipes (commonly referred to as bongs) that command top prices. The brand, which is spelled with the second “R” capitalized and turned around, has become synonymous with high-end marijuana culture.
The company, in a slate of recent lawsuits, accuses cannabis shops in the United States of trying to steal their luxury brand appeal.
The company and its U.S. partner have accused shops in California, Florida and New York of selling counterfeit products under the RooR name. The company alleges that the sales are in violation of Trademark No. 3675839.
“Counterfeiting is a huge problem for us,” Jay Farraj, owner of Sream Inc., told the Associated Press. Sream is RooR’s partner in the U.S. He said the fake RooR items have cost his California business millions of dollars.
Tricky legal area.
RooR has filed its lawsuits in federal court. However, marijuana remains illegal under federal law. And that’s just one of the complications of the marijuana market in general and the lawsuits in particular.
The RooR trademark officially calls the company’s product a “bong.” And the company, unlike some other bong makers, is open about its commitment to legal cannabis. The company site directly addresses the company’s goal of creating products that promote refined cannabis culture.
Products that violate federal law cannot seek trademark protection. Alison Malsbury, a Seattle lawyer who works in cannabis trademark issues, told the Associated Press many of the lawsuits could settle out of court as neither RooR nor the sellers are keen on discussing their business in a federal court.