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It looks like someone is not happy with Snoop Dogg’s name and logo for his cannabis business. Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, the company that owns the Toronto Maple Leafs NHL team has filed an opposition to his logo. Why the beef? Caution! Petty squabbles and issues to follow.

Similarity or paranoia?

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If you are looking at the two images and wondering why the hockey team is so blistered over the issue, you aren’t the only one. Snoop filed the patent application for the logo on November 17th of last year, for a line of lighters, and potentially other merchandise, though another trademark application to use the logo on clothing has been abandoned.

The Maple Leafs logo, shown on the right, is the one the team plans to use for the 2016-2017 season. They claim that his trademark is too similar to theirs, but let’s take a closer look.

  • Snoop’s logo is a non-specific leaf with 7 points, the most common number of segments on a cannabis leaf. The Toronto logo, on the other hand, is a maple leaf with 3 major segments, 2 minor ones at the base, and 31 points, signifying the year Maple Leaf Gardens opened in 1931.
  • Snoop’s logo has a star structure, whereas the Toronto logo is specifically a leaf, with veins.
  • The colors are in no way similar, and neither is the location of the word “Leafs”

Furthermore, neither the word ‘Leafs’ nor a leaf shape in general, are exclusive to the Maple Leafs. Many companies and even the Canadian flag have leaves as part of their main design. As for the word “Leafs,” a misspelling of the proper plural, leaves, the Patent and Trademark Office’s online searchable database contains 523 trademark applications that contain the exact phrase “leafs”.

Though many are simply misspellings (not exactly the best way to submit a patent application,) many others are intentional.

Trademark battles

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The ritual of trademark battles is fairly commonplace and such disputes are usually settled privately before ever reaching court. The question remains, why is the Toronto team making such a big deal over a very thin claim of resemblance? There are far more likely explanations that their supposedly infringed trademark. If leaves are going to become exclusive, the marijuana industry as a whole is in for some issues.

The first, and most obvious explanation is that of all the companies that they could have a beef with, Snoop’s is by far the most news-worthy. As the old saying goes:

Any press is good press, as long as they spell your name right.

You can be sure that for every article that mentions the Toronto team between now and season start, there will be more than a few people incentivized to go see them play, let alone buy their merchandise. That saves them some advertising dollars.

A more nefarious reason?

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The second reason, though more tenuous, is also not without merit. The fiasco of the recent Toronto dispensary raids and both the Mayor’s and Chief of Police’s statements in regards to the industry show a glaring prohibitionist tilt. That same prejudice is long standing in the city that is only now apologizing for the massive crackdown of gay bathhouses in Toronto in 1981. Those raids persecuted and arrested gay men by the hundreds. Will it take 35 years for them to apologize for the dispensary raids as well?

Speculation on the part of this inquisitive mind posits that this could be another jab at the industry, the movement, and Canadian cannabis companies specifically. Snoop partnered earlier this year in an exclusive deal with Canadian medical marijuana producer Tweed Inc. The deal allows the firm to use his “content and brands” in their products.

Leafs bashing stars?

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The third reason that comes to mind is a general nationalist tendency to hate on anyone who has recently hated on them. HERB reported on June 5th that Snoop had gone on Instagram to blast Canada for their keen interest in pulling him aside every time he entered the country. After all, everyone knows Snoop loves the herb, but why check him for it on his way INTO one of the most pot-friendly places in the world? He was a bit scathing, not just to the security teams, but the nation as a whole.

Y’all need to raise up off me, Canada. Ya’ll need to just walk me through and stop taking me back into that f*cking customs office. – Snoop

Hockey fans and the players they love are known to step up for a brawl. This might just be one way some prominent citizens are coming up with to give him grief. One thing is for certain; if the claim of trademark infringement is genuinely based solely on a perceived sense of improper similarity, they the Toronto Maple Leafs have taken too many pucks to the dome to see clearly. The team sure loves to bash stars on the ice, maybe they are confused? I wonder who they will pick a fight with next?

Do you think the logos look mistakably similar or is the whole situation ridiculous? Laugh with us on social media or let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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