Aaron Fulkerson

California Hot Sauce Maker Sues MMJ Company Over Trademarks

Tapatio Foods LLC., a California-based hot sauce and salsa manufacturer, has filed a lawsuit against California medical cannabis company Payoso Grow claiming that the company has violated Tapatio trademarks. The lawsuit claims that the cannabis company’s Trapatio cannabis-infused chile sauce infringes on their “Charro” mark – a man in a sombrero, yellow shirt, and red tie.

At least one Trapatio mark also features a man in a sombrero, yellow shirt, and red tie; however, that mark features the man in a black ski mask with dollar signs adorning the rim of his sombrero. On another Trapatio mark, the red tie is obstructed by a bandolier (a bullet belt crossing over the chest) and the hat features cannabis leaves.

“The use of the Charro in connection with the word TRAPATIO by Defendants is likely to cause confusion as to the source, origin, sponsorship, and/or affiliation of Defendants’ goods, on the one hand, and Tapatio’s goods on the other hand,” the lawsuit contends.

The plaintiffs claim the Payoso products carrying the Charro infringe on and dilute their trademark and that Tapatio has been “damaged” by the defendants’ “unfair competition.”

Earlier this month, the makers of the adhesive Gorilla Glue settled with cannabis company GG Strains LLC in their own trademark infringement case over the Gorilla Glue moniker which GG Strains had used to name several cannabis varieties. That case did not involve any monetary penalties or transactions but GG Strains must cease using the word “Gorilla” within one year and stop using any gorilla imagery by Sept. 19, 2018.

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