Skittles owner sues THC-laced copycat Zkittlez for trademark infringement

Business

Skittles logo at the entrance to the supermarket trading floor.
Igor Golovniov | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

Mars Inc.’s Wrigley unit, the owner of Skittles, Starburst and Life Savers candies, filed complaints against Terphogz, the maker of THC-infused candy Zkittlez, on the grounds of trademark infringement.

Lawsuits were filed Monday in U.S. federal courts Illinois and California and in Canada seeking to halt the sale of Zkittlez goods, drug paraphernalia, clothing and merchandise.

“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 company spokeswoman said in a email.

THC is the psychoactive compound in cannabis.

One of the complaints filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois named Terphogz and five Illinois-based companies that purchase, advertise and resell Zkittlez in the state.

In the court filing, the Skittles maker seeks damages from Terphogz and its resellers and asks the court to place a permanent injunction on the sale of any products using Zkittlez marks and hand over any products or merchandise using the marks.

Additionally, Wrigley is hoping to have the Zkittlez website transferred to it and all social media accounts be disabled and that Terphogz withdraw its trademark application for the brand.

“Terphogz’s Zkittlez Marks are substantially identical in sight, sound, meaning, and commercial impression to Wrigley’s Skittles Marks,” the filing states, citing the red packaging as an example.

Wrigley said it is concerned the similar product names are confusing to consumers, and it could hurt the company’s reputation.

Terphogz did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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