How do you argue that counterfeit water pipes are illegal under trademark law when the original is illegal under criminal law? That’s one of the main questions in a US trademark battle.
RooR, a company based in Germany, makes luxury water pipes that sell for top prices. The brand has become synonymous with high-end marijuana culture.
In a series of recent law suits, the company accuses cannabis shops in the United States of trying to steal their luxury brand appeal. According to RooR, the accused shops have been selling counterfeit products under the RooR name, which constitutes an infringement of its trademark rights.
RooR has filed its lawsuits in US federal court. But marijuana remains illegal under federal law. And there’s the legal complication of the marijuana market in general and these lawsuits in particular.
Products that violate federal law cannot seek trademark protection, a Seattle attorney says. The attorney continues: “To go into court and say under oath that what you are doing is a crime, that’s something a lot of people are unwilling to do”.
RooR’s defence is simple: it promotes its commitment to legal cannabis.