Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, which produces Skittles candy, alleged in a complaint that a hemp company has infringed its trademarks and taken advantage of its success in branding to sell Zkittlez branded items, including cannabis, drug paraphernalia, and merchandise. The plaintiff filed its complaint Monday in the Northern District of Illinois against Terphogz LLC, a California company.
Wrigley said in the filing that it “invested nearly 50 years and hundreds of millions of dollars” into its Skittles trademark and the “taste the rainbow” slogan and advertising campaign. The company claimed its campaign “has become one of the longest-running most successful campaigns in the history of advertising.”
The plaintiff alleged that Terphogz picked the Zkittlez name for its products to take advantage of Wrigley’s trademarks, including the “S” logo used with Skittles and the “taste the rainbow” slogan, by using “#taztetheztrainbro” on merchandise and in marketing.
Wrigley said the alleged use of the Skittles marks has cause Terphogz to be “enormously successful” and has allowed them to control a 20% premium in its market. However, it claimed that that success has come at Wrigley’s expense, as it has caused the public to believe that it approves of the defendants’ products. Wrigley alleged that it has “lost control over the reputation of its SKITTLES Marks.”
The complaint noted that Illinois, where the lawsuit was filed, has passed legislation attempting to keep cannabis companies from using packaging and labels that imitate candy to keep children from mistaking the products. Ku
In addition to the civil complaint, Wrigley asked for a suspension in an opposition with similar allegations it filed before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board on Monday. Wrigley, in this matter, opposed the defendant’s request for a trademark for Zkittlez Hemp with a cloud design. It claimed that the decision in the civil action will influence the trademark opposition.
Wrigley is represented by Kucala Law in the civil complaint and Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. in the trademark opposition. Terphogz is represented by Branfman Mayfield Bustarde Reichenthal in the trademark matter but not yet represented in the civil matter.