Last month we discussed the recent lawsuits brought by the Wrigley Company against five cannabis businesses it accuses of infringing its trademarks. Cointreau is now following Wrigley’s lead, suing the maker of Quatreau CBD-infused sparkling water.
As we pointed out in our analysis of the Wrigley lawsuits, there is a fine line between legitimate trademark protection and the stymieing of creativity. In the context of the Wrigley cases, getting fake “Skittles” off the street is the very reason trademark rights exist in the first place: Both Wrigley and the consumer suffer if “Skittles” not made by Wrigley are available on the market.
At the same time, it is hard to imagine that many people buy Zkittlez in the mistaken belief they are in fact Skittles. That said, it is likely that at least some people are not able to tell the difference between the two brands, and perhaps trademark law needs to be viewed through the prism of those consumers. That will be up to the courts to decide in the Wrigley litigation.
The Cointreau case appears to be one of the instances where the chances of actual confusion are low. First, it does not appear that the Quatreau branding