Tobacco Company Opposes “RAW GARDEN” Trademark for Smoking Accessories

This Tuesday before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, BBK Tobacco & Foods, LLP (BBK), doing business as HBI International filed a notice of opposition to three trademark applications filed by Central Coast Agriculture, Inc. (CCA). According to the filing, BBK believes it will be damaged if the mark “RAW GARDEN” and accompanying design depicting a sprout with roots and two leaves is registered because it is “confusingly similar” to BBK’s extant marks and because both companies market and sell comparable smoking products and accessories. According to the notice, CCA filed its applications on Mar. 6, 2019, and they were published for opposition on Sept. 8.

BBK uses its registered marks including “RAW,” “SUPERNATURAL RAW,” and “ARTESANO RAW,” in connection with goods it offers for sale, including cigarette rolling papers, cigarette filters, tubes, and rolling machines, smoking and tobacco pipes, lighters, hemp rolling papers, tobacco grinders, lanyards, a variety of candles, ashtrays, and magnifying lenses, the filing explained.

BBK’s “RAW” mark is also registered for the service of “providing consumer and business information and related news in the fields of marijuana and cannabis and medicinal and therapeutic marijuana and cannabis.” The notice contends that “(t)he public has come to associate Opposer’s Registered RAW® Marks with Opposer and Opposer’s goods and services.” The RAW mark has been used in connection with the nationwide sale of goods and services since as early as 2002, BBK added.

The filing contended that CCA intends to use its “RAW GARDEN” mark in connection with the sale of electronic cigarettes, oral vaporizers, marijuana and CBD products, and “(c)artridges sold filled with chemical flavorings in liquid form for electronic cigarettes.” However, BBK stated that it has priority over CCA’s applications and it established rights to its marks well before CCA ever applied for mark registration.

In support of its opposition, BBK pointed to the likely confusion that will occur between the two companies and their products if the mark is registered. It noted that CCA’s marks “contain a word element that is identical to a word element” of its own, and “incorporate the word element “RAW” which is the dominant and distinctive word element” of each of its marks. Thus, CCA’s proposed marks create an “overall commercial impression” similar to BBK’s “RAW” marks.

In addition to the similarities of the marks themselves, BBK argued that “the identical, overlapping, and complementary nature of the goods and services, the overlap of trade channels and customers for these goods and services are so great as to create a likelihood of confusion among consumers as to the source of Applicant’s goods and/or Applicant’s affiliation or relationship with, or endorsement or sponsorship by, Opposer.” In turn, BBK requests that the opposition be sustained, and that the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board reject CCA’s applications.

BBK is represented by Dickinson Wright PLLC.