Small Dispensary Wins Trademark Dispute Against Multi-State Operator

Arkansas-based Harvest Cannabis Dispensary has won a preliminary injunction in its trademark dispute against Natural State Enterprises, a multi-state cannabis operator.

Full story after the jump.

Conway, Arkansas-based Harvest Cannabis Dispensary has won a preliminary injunction in its trademark dispute against Natural State Wellness Dispensary, LLC and its parent company Natural State Enterprises. The injunction prohibits Natural State from using the word “Harvest” in connection with its Little Rock dispensary and Newport cultivation facility.

Both Natural State facilities are managed by Arizona-based Harvest Health & Recreation, Inc. and were branded “Harvest House of Cannabis” and “Harvest of Newport” at the time of the preliminary injunction decision. Harvest Cannabis Dispensary has used the name since their inception, CEO Elizabeth Barnett said.

Barnett added that the Arizona company’s industry application “touted a long list of prominent Arkansas business leaders and politicians as their owners” but that those individuals “ceded total control of all operations to an out-of-state operator named ‘Harvest Health & Recreation.’”

“We have been open and honest about our intentions and branding since September 2017 when we first came up with the name around the breakfast table and sought a license from the State. We were shocked when the Little Rock store put their sign up on their building after we had been open for months calling themselves ‘Harvest House of Cannabis.’ …  I guess these out of state folks just assumed they could just come in and bully us into submission. This ruling proves that sometimes the little guy wins. This was a huge victory for us.” – Barnett in a statement

Harvest said that their competitor based their case “almost exclusively on federal trademark law and their affiliates’ presence in a few other remote states in support of their claims of nationwide seniority.”

Harvest’s lawyer, Andrew King with Kutak Rock LLP, said the outcome – where a local cannabis dispensary prevailed under state trademark law against a multi-state operator for which federal trademark protection is unavailable – is the “first of its kind” and could provide a roadmap for other, similar, trademark cases in the industry.

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