Wrigley sues makers of candy-copying weed products over trademarks

3 minute read

M&M's candies and a pack of Wrigley's Doublemint gum in this photo illustration at a convenience store in Medford, Massachusetts April 28, 2008. M&M's candy maker Mars Inc has teamed up with billionaire Warren Buffett to buy No. 1 chewing gum manufacturer Wm Wrigley Jr Co for $23 billion, creating the world's largest confectionery company. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES)

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

(Reuters) - Mars Inc's Wm Wrigley Jr Co has filed lawsuits in Chicago and California federal courts against several sellers of cannabis products that allegedly imitate its packaging and infringe trademarks of its Skittles, Starburst, and Life Savers brands.

Chicago-based Wrigley also said in the Monday complaints that cannabis companies that use candy-company trademarks create a risk for children, who could confuse the products for its candy, and that it sued in part to protect the public from dangerous business practices.

"At Mars Wrigley we take great pride in making fun treats that parents can trust giving to their children and children can enjoy safely," a Wrigley spokesperson said in an email. "We are deeply disturbed to see our trademarked brands being used illegally to sell THC-infused products."

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Named defendants Terphogz LLC, Packaging Papi LLC and 2020ediblez didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Two of the three complaints – one in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and another in the Central District of California – alleged that seven sellers including Packaging Papi, 2020ediblez and others have been offering "Medicated" Skittles, Life Savers, and Starbursts as well as "Cannaburst" edibles.

The products have nearly identical packaging to Wrigley's candies, are likely to confuse consumers and pose a "great danger to the public," the complaints say.

The third complaint, also filed in Chicago, said Terphogz's use of the name "Zkittlez" and a knock-off of Wrigley's "Taste The Rainbow" slogan to sell cannabis products and paraphernalia has been "enormously successful," with Zkittlez goods commanding a 20% premium compared to similar products on the cannabis market.

"But those ill-gotten gains have come both at the expense of the public which believes that Wrigley approves the ZKITTLEZ goods," Wrigley said.

The cases are Wm Wrigley Jr Co v. Terphogz LLC, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, No. 1:21-cv-02357; Wm Wrigley Jr Co v. Packaging Papi LLC, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, No. 1:21-cv-02364; and Wm Wrigley Jr Co v. Conde d/b/a 2020Ediblez, U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, No. 5:21-cv-00777.

For Wrigley: Douglas Masters of Loeb & Loeb; Joseph Kucala of Kucala Law; John Dabney and Mary Hallerman of Snell & Wilmer

Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.