Our recent photo post highlighting twenty marijuana edibles that risk copyright lawsuits was inspired by a Hershey Company complaint against TinctureBelle. The suit, on view below, charges the Colorado firm with "the unauthorized use of a number of famous and well-known Hershey trademarks to sell chocolate candy that contains cannabis and/or tetrahydrocannabinol."
In response, TinctureBelle owner maintains that the designs cited by Hershey were discontinued months ago, and she believes the current ones don't rip off anyone. See photos below.
Here are side-by-side images from the suit featuring TinctureBelle products and the Hershey items to which they allegedly allude. First up: Hashees Peanut Butter Cups and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups....
...followed by Ganja Joy and Almond Joy.... ...plus one juxtaposition of Hasheath and Heath bars.... ...and another.... ...and, finally, Dabby Patty and York Peppermint Patty: TinctureBelle owner Char Mayes isn't doing interviews right now, but in a release issued under the auspices of Moye White LLP, the law firm that's representing her, she says she was blindsided by the complaint.
"The lawsuit from Hershey came as a huge surprise to us," she's quoted as saying, "because we changed our entire label line approximately six months ago, long before these allegations surfaced.
"Our new packaging looks nothing like Hershey's or anyone else's," she adds.
The new designs do indeed eschew direct references to the look of Hershey products. Here, for instance, is the current packaging for Hashees Peanut Butter Cups:
However, the names of some items continue to recall those of Hershey items, including Hasheats (the new name of Hasheath) and ThingaMaJiggy (Hershey made a candy called Thingamajig from 2009 to 2012). There are also apparent nods to confections made by other firms, including Snockered, which sounds a lot like the Mars company favorite Snickers.
Are TinctureBelle products now so different that the suit is out of date? Decide for yourself by checking out more current TinctureBelle designs, followed by the company's response and the complete complaint.
Continue to see more current TinctureBelle pot edibles designs, plus the company's response and the Hershey lawsuit. Continue to see more current TinctureBelle pot edibles designs, plus the company's response and the Hershey lawsuit. TinctureBelle press release:
Colorado Medical Marijuana Company Fires Back at Hershey TinctureBelle disputes claim its candies resemble giant chocolate maker's products
Denver, Colo., June 11, 2014 -- TinctureBelle LLC ("TinctureBelle"), a small, family-owned medical marijuana company, responded today to allegations made by the Hershey Company and Hershey Chocolate & Confectionery Corporation ("Hershey") in a lawsuit filed in U.S District Court in Denver, that TinctureBelle is selling marijuana-infused candies that resemble Hershey Products.
"The lawsuit from Hershey came as a huge surprise to us," said TinctureBelle President, Char Mayes, "because we changed our entire label line approximately 6 months ago, long before these allegations surfaced last week. Our new packaging looks nothing like Hershey's or anyone else's." Hershey did not contact TinctureBelle before filing suit. "The first we heard of it was from a reporter, who called last Thursday for a comment on Hershey's lawsuit," said Mayes. "We were unable to comment because that was the first we had heard of the suit. We have yet to be served."
Colorado Springs-based TinctureBelle is licensed by the State of Colorado to manufacture and distribute cannabis-infused products. "Our mission is simple," said Mayes: "We wish to contribute to the health and well being of all MMJ patients, as well as assist our beloved MMJ community in building a positive reputation for the community and the many dispensaries in the state of Colorado that carry our quality line of products."
TinctureBelle's products are only available through Colorado-licensed medical marijuana dispensaries, and only with a doctor-prescribed "Red Card," approved by the State of Colorado. All of its products are sold only in heat-sealed, non-transparent, child proof packaging. "The suggestion made by some media reports that our products are available to children, and even sold side-by-side with Hershey products, is dumbfounding, and shows a profound lack of awareness of how infused cannabis products are regulated, manufactured, and sold under Colorado's strict regulatory regime," remarked Mayes.
"The lawsuit from Hershey has absolutely nothing to do with our current line of quality products," Mayes said. "TinctureBelle will continue to operate and to serve our community. We hope this issue/misunderstanding with Hershey can be resolved as quickly as possible."
Mayes thanked family, friends, and members of the cannabis community for their support over the last few days after this story broke. "I can't describe enough how much you all mean to us!" she added.
TinctureBelle is represented by Donald Goulart and Eric Liebman of the Denver law firm Moye White LLP.
Here's the complete lawsuit:
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our Marijuana archive circa June 11: "Photos: Twenty marijuana edibles that risk copyright lawsuits."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.