Business & Legal

Sued for a Name? Gorilla Glue #4

Asia Mayfield
Written by Asia Mayfield

Gorilla Glue #4.

To cannabis enthusiasts, the name conjures up images of dense, sticky nugs glazed with resin. However, the rest of the world probably thinks about glue. At least, that’s what adhesive giant Gorilla Glue argued in court.

Gorilla Glue vs GG Strains

Gorilla Glue’s team won their case. In 2017 they reached a settlement with GG Strains, forcing the Nevada-based cannabis company to rebrand its products. Gorilla Glue #4 morphed into GG4 or Original Glue.

“It is a business that should be held to the same standards of fair play in branding that apply to all other businesses,” Thomas F. Hankinson, Gorilla Glue Co.’s attorney, said. “GG Strains not only took the name, but intentionally traded on Gorilla Glue’s reputation for high-quality adhesives’ ‘stickiness.’”

The settlement freed GG Strains from potential financial obligations. The company agreed to abandon its gorillaglue4.com website as well as rename the Gorilla Glue line. It can reference the strain’s history as long as it’s clear that the name has been changed.

Cannabis industry leaders paid close attention to the case because it has broad implications. Gorilla Glue #4 is far from the only strain with a troublesome name.

“We’re not millionaires, we’re cannabis breeders and cultivators,” GG Strains co-founder Ross Johnson told The Cannabist before the settlement. “Most people have backed down from corporate businesses, so no case has set precedent as of yet. Down the line, this (case) will set the precedent.”

What’s in a Name

It’s not the first legal quagmire that cannabis growers have waded into. The industry is being legitimized.

Companies that wanted to protect their trademark had no recourse while cannabis was primarily being sold illegally. Good luck hunting down Gorilla Glue’s black market dealer.

Last year, corporations swooped in on multiple cannabis growers. A California-based company that marketed a “Coachella blend” pre-roll was served a cease and desist letter by the festival behemoth.

A California dispensary marketing “Girl Scout Cookies” suffered the same fate.

Giant legal battles are extremely expensive. GG Strains admitted that their efforts to defend themselves ultimately cost more than $200,000. Rather than become entangled in a lengthy battle, growers should find non-controversial names.

The cannabis industry is under a lot of scrutiny. They’re forging a path toward widespread cannabis acceptance. However, the transition to a legitimate industry has not been without its kinks.

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Asia Mayfield

Asia Mayfield

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