As the legal marijuana industry grows, so does the ways to capitalize on it. Entrepreneur Chris Hoover is tapping into the entertainment side with an animated series called “Ganjagonia.” He filed an Intent-To-Use trademark application for a mark of the same name last May for animation production services. However, Patagonia, which has several marks registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, isn’t too happy about it. The company filed a Notice of Opposition with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) this February.
The outdoor clothing brand cited four grounds for opposition: priority and likelihood of confusion; dilution by blurring; dilution by tarnishment; and deceptiveness. In the Notice of Opposition, Patagonia describes itself as a company that has been “designing, developing, and marketing outdoor apparel and related products, services, and content” for forty years, further adding, “Patagonia has become famous around the world for innovative apparel designs, quality products, and environmental and corporate responsibility.”
Patagonia asserts that it has made substantial expenditures in time, money and effort for the promotion of the goods and services sold under its marks; therefore, the public recognizes Patagonia and the Patagonia marks as the source of high quality goods. “Patagonia has earned considerable goodwill among consumers in connection with the mark,” the company says. It strongly believes that the GANJAGONIA mark is very similar to its registered marks, and that Hoover has the intent to use it with services that are identical or overlap with services that Patagonia offers with its marks. “Applicant’s animation production services will directly compete with the film, video, and web content production services that Patagonia sells under the Patagonia Mark,” the company states. It also strongly believes that the GANJAGONIA mark is so deceptively similar that it would lead to confusion or mistake with consumers. On the dilution grounds, Patagonia thinks that its reputation will likely be tarnished because the animation production services are related to drug use, and the company includes evidence from Ganjagonia’s YouTube channel, which features animated characters engaging in marijuana use. Patagonia has asked the TTAB to deny registration of the mark.
Patagonia has also filed a few other notices with the TTAB over the last few years against companies it believes were pursuing trademark applications that were confusing or damaging to its brand. It recently filed oppositions to Aysen Organics’ application for OATAGONIA for use with oatmeal and cereals products, and New York Commercial Office, Inc. for PATAGONIA ARTISAN BREAD for use with breads. Both proceedings are currently pending.
Chris Hoover has until April 2nd to submit an answer to the Notice of Opposition.
For more information on the trademark application process, please contact The Fried Firm.