“The Clear” Sues a Washington Company for Trademark Infringement

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve most likely heard of The Clear concentrate hazing its way across the country.

As patients sift through the vast array of dispensary products, this flavor-enhanced marijuana distillate stands out to many newcomers as a tasteless cannabis oil that is smooth, has very little aroma, and comes in flavors like “Good Time Lime” and “Raspberry Dreamer.”

659228_the-clear-concentrateOver the past few years, The Clear has been a reputable source for flavored cannabis distillate, however, they do not have a patent on the creation process. It wasn’t long before cannabis concentrate companies all over the country began selling flavored distillate under a generic product category: clear.

However, the Southern California company Headspace who manufacturers “The Clear” is beginning to fight and take back what they believe to be their rightful property — the term “Clear.”

Headspace recently served a marijuana company based out of Arlington, Washington with the state’s first-ever marijuana trademark infringement lawsuit. The Washington-based cannabis company, Podworks, produces a cannabis distillate named “Top Shelf Clear,” and “The Clear” is not having any of it.

“We take a lot of pride in the proprietary nature of what we do,” said Chris Barone, CEO of Headspace International. “We’ve got a lot of time and money invested into what we’re doing.”

Headspace is arguing that anyone using the term “Clear” needs to choose another descriptive word for their product; “That’s our name,” said Headspace CFO David Sparer.

the clear versus top shelf clear cannabis concentrate trademark infringementHeadspace International does own state trademarks for “The Clear,” but since the federal government does not acknowledge cannabis-related trademarks on a federal level, the legitimate protection of intellectual property over state lines appears to be up for grabs with this case.

A West Seattle attorney, Eric Harrison, told Seattle’s KING 5, “This is a landmark case that will set precedence for the entire cannabis industry. Trademarks serve as identifiers for consumers. The cannabis industry must abide by trademark laws.”

Podworks owns the legal trademark for “Top Shelf Clear” and is not planning on backing down, arguing that “Top Shelf Clear” is different than “The Clear.” Podworks owner Thomas Worth and his attorney Peter Smith believe that Headspace, a large out-of-state company, is attempting to bully and weaken their business in an attempt to wipe out a rival before entering the highly competitive Washington market.

Examples of “mainstream” companies suing marijuana companies for trademark infringement exist, such as Gorilla Glue Company versus the Gorilla Glue strain, and Stash Tea versus Stash Cannabis Dispensary. However, the courts have not seen a marijuana-to-marijuana battle over trademark infringement. It will be very interesting to see where Washington State lands; this case has the power to set the stage for future trademark infringement cases in our multi-billion dollar industry.

About Author

Allie is a NW-based content curator for Marijuana.com and an organic farmer at TKO Reserve. She has been a professional in the marijuana industry since she was 18 years old, spending the first five years of her career working for Dope Magazine as lead photographer. Allie has worked on mainstream projects such as Idiot's Guide: Growing Marijuana, Branding Bud: The Consumerization of Cannabis and her own self-published book, As The Grass Grows.

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