Snoop Dogg’s LEAVES BY SNOOP design mark application may be in trouble. The owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs filed a request for extension of time to oppose the mark with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, citing the need for more time to investigate potential claims.
Calvin Broadus, more popularly known as Snoop Dogg, filed two intent to use applications back in November. One for the LEAFS BY SNOOP word mark and another for LEAFS BY SNOOP with a design element. The Maple Leafs didn’t take issue with the word mark, but apparently think that the design mark may be a little too close to their own Maple Leaf logo.
The marks clearly share some visual commonalities, though the inspiration behind the marks is quite distinct. The Maple Leafs logo draws from the teams history, including 13 veins in the top representing the number of Stanley Cup Championships the team has won, and a total of 17 veins on the leaf representing the year the team was founded, 1917. Snoop Dogg drew inspiration from the marijuana leaf, a substance that he very publicly promotes.
The LEAFS BY SNOOP applications don’t cover marijuana, of course. Both applications cover cigarette lighters. We’ve written before about marijuana branding and how some may be trying to stake their claims with registrations that cover other goods that the U.S.P.T.O. may find similar or complementary to marijuana. They hope that this will protect their territory if federal registration ever becomes a possibility. Marijuana has seen growing public acceptance in recent years, with a few states legalizing even recreational use. The federal government still sees it as an illegal narcotic and so federal trademark registration is out of the question for the marijuana industry, at least for registrations that cover marijuana.
It will be interesting to see how these marijuana related applications and registrations fare as they bump up against big established brands. The Maple Leafs marks are arguably famous marks. Though they may well have a registration that covers cigarette lights, they might not need it. If they decide to oppose the registration, I’m assuming they will be strongly considering tarnishment.