California cannabis brand Terphogz has released the following statement regarding its settlement with Mars Wrigley.
"After using the 'Zkittlez' mark for over 10 years with no complaints from the candy maker, we welcomed the opportunity to resolve any trademark concerns with Wrigley. We want to let consumers know they can still enjoy our unique and highly sought-after cultivar under the name 'The Original Z.'"
The brand is famous for developing the cannabis strain "Zkittlez." In 2021 Wrigley sued Terphogz in Chicago federal court for trademark infringement, demanding Terphogz "never use the letter Z by itself or combined with any letters or numbers," as well as pay $250,000 in damages. The brand rejected Wrigley's demands as unsupported by federal trademark law and a violation of its first amendment rights.
Last week, the case against Terphogz was settled with no financial damages awarded to Wrigley. Per the settlement, Terphogz agrees to cease using the name "Zkittlez" and its "circle Z" branding but will continue to use the name "The Original Z," as well as its iconic "Z" logo.
Terphogz's attorney, Timothy Alger stated, "It's important to distinguish between my clients and unregulated pirates that Wrigley sued separately who sell adulterated candy or who use packaging identical to Wrigley's, including their registered trademarks."
When it issued the complaint against Terphogz, Wrigley brought lawsuits against five other companies for violations of intellectual property rights. In one such case, another company selling THC-laced candies awarded Wrigley $2 million in damages for trademark infringement.
"At Mars Wrigley, we take great pride in making fun treats that parents can trust giving to their children and children can enjoy safely. We are deeply disturbed to see our trademarked brands being used illegally to sell THC-infused products, and even more so to hear of children ingesting these products and becoming ill," a Mars Wrigley spokeswoman told Reuters.
While Wrigley's did not implicitly accuse Terphogz of harming children, Terphogz (whose products are state-regulated) was the only company mentioned by name in Wrigley's initial statement.
Ironically, Wrigley's candy ingredients have been recently called into question by California lawmakers, who proposed a ban in California on some products from Wrigley, including the Skittles candy, for ingredients that have been linked to health problems in children and adults.