Why Do The Toronto Maple Leafs Have A Problem With Snoop Dogg’s Cannabis Biz?

The Toronto Maple Leafs’ have opposed Snoop Dogg’s attempts to trademark his cannabis firm’s gold seven-leaf logo. Here’s why. [analysis]

aNewDomain — The NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs have a problem with rapper Snoop Dogg. It’s a trademark problem that involves the logo of Leafs by Snoop, the rapper’s new Colorado-based cannabis startup.

leafs by snoop logo toronto maple leafs snoop dogg cannabis trademark According to public records obtained by aNewDomain, Snoop filed three trademark applications for Leafs By Snoop with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in November 2015 using his real name, Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr.

Snoop launched his firm’s first line of smokeable and edible cannabis products the same month.

So what’s the NHL team’s problem with the Leafs by Snoop logo?

As you can see from the logo on the firm’s cannabis oil-laced chocolate bars at right, the logo shows a gold plant with seven leaves, with white lettering that reads “Leafs by Snoop.”

The trademark application the NHL team is opposing is the design mark he filed for in the USPTO’s goods and services category, covering  a cigarette lighter he’s already selling.

The team not only has formally filed an opposition action to that specific application. It now has asked the USPTO to give it more time to explain what its problem with Snoop’s logo is, according to a report posted earlier today in Turner Sports News.

toronto maple leafs snoop dogg leafs by snoop logo battle uspto cannabis anewdomainWe await comment on the matter from Leaps by Snoops attorneys and the legal team at Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), which owns the Maple Leafs.

In the meantime, we can only speculate. Both logos are multiple-leaf plants with white lettering, “so there’s an obvious argument that quickly comes to mind,” says aNewDomain legal correspondent Tom Ewing, who is a nationally recognized patent and trademark lawyer in tech. “That argument would be that Snoop’s logo is confusingly similar to consumers or that it somehow disparages the Toronto Maple Leafs’ brand.”

But that could be a difficult argument to make, Ewing said. “With that argument, trademark examiners have to consider how many people, really, would ever be confused by the logo and conclude that the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team now sells cigarette lighters adorned with a gold marijuana leaf and the name ‘Snoop’?”

“How many people will confuse the Maple Leafs’ blue five leaf logo and Snoop’s gold seven leaf one? Trademark law is about confusion, and there always seem to be a few confused consumers,” he said.

Another argument — and an interesting one, according to Ewing — might have to do with the somewhat unique spelling of the plural word “Leafs” in both logos rather than “leaves.” “Trademark decisions about logos aren’t just about images, they can also be about the words, too,” he added.

Public records also show Snoop has filed a trademark application for a product called Snoop Juice. “If OJ Simpson weren’t incarcerated, he might well oppose Snoop, too,” quipped Ewing.

leafs by snoop dogg toronto maple leafs trademark battle usptoAll kidding aside, Snoop Dogg, it’s worth noting, isn’t just a serious cannabis entrepreneur and activist. He’s also an aggressive investor in the legal cannabis business. Earlier this year he announced he was putting together a cannabis investment fund to add fuel to the rapidly growing legal recreational and medical cannabis business.

And what a business it is.

Under current laws and conditions, Ackrell Capital analysts expect the business to more than double to nearly $10B by 2017 — and, should the federal government cease classifying cannabis as an illegal and dangerous Schedule 1 substance under federal law, it could easily reach 100B by the end of the decade. Downoad the Ackrell Capital Cannabis Business 2016 report here or read it in place below.

For aNewDomain, I’m Gina Smith.

Here’s Ackrell Capital’s inaugural Cannabis Investment Report 2016, readable in full and in place below.

Ackrell Capital Cannabis Investment Report 2016

Leafs by Snoop logos and packages: StockLogos.com, All Rights Reserved; image of Snoop Dogg in front of logo, Larazon.com, All Rights Reserved;  cover image of Snoop Dogg at his November 2015 Leafs by Snoop announcement: lmoptics, All Rights Reserved.

About the author

Gina Smith

Gina Smith is a New York Times bestselling author and an award-winning journalist. A former correspondent for ABC News, Gina is the co-founder and editorial director of aNewDomain Media. Email Gina at gina@anewdomain.net and find her on Twitter @ginasmith888