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‘United Pot Smokers’ weed delivery service sued over ‘confusingly similar’ branding

Protecting trademarks is a high priority for this shipping company.

United Parcel Service is suing the weed-delivery operation United Pot Smokers and two Southern California residents in federal court over “confusingly similar” branding, which the package-delivery giant says will cause the original UPS “irreparable harm.”

UPS said in a trademark infringement complaint filed Feb. 13 in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California that by using UPS-like logos in their marijuana business, the cannabis operation “intended to capitalize off UPS’s extensive goodwill and reputation.”

UPS also wrote that the weed operation has been “selling and shipping cannabis products in violation of state and federal laws.”

The Atlanta-based global package company said it sent cease-and-desist letters three times last year (on Aug. 6, Sept. 9 and Nov. 12) to Brendon and Mayumi Kennedy, residents of Newport Beach who are associated with United Pot Smokers.

But UPS did not get a response to those letters, and the weed-delivery operation continues “to willfully infringe and dilute the famous UPS® Family of Marks,” according to the complaint.

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UPS said it does not “in any way sponsor, endorse, or approve” of the operations, and that, if the court doesn’t step in, “UPS will suffer irreparable injury and further harm.”

The lawsuit suggests United Pot Smokers, UPS420 and other defendants listed have a “reputation for unlawful and unprofessional conduct, including offering sham services.”

ups logo.jpg
UPS wrote in its lawsuit that “the website UPS420.com prominently displays the [above] logo containing the UPS® Mark and copying the UPS® Shield Logo.” Screen grab from complaint filed in U.S. District Court

The complaint cites a ripoffreport.com review of UPS420 that said “Ups420.com is one of several unlicensed scam websites operated by Brendon and Mayumi Kennedy and set up to defraud medical marijuana patients. Brendon has been ripping off Southern California medical marijuana patients since 2011 under various names …”

The lawsuit asks that the defendants pay UPS damages and legal fees — and that the weed operation be required to give UPS “ownership and control of the domain names www.UPS.green, www.UPS420.com, www.UnitedPotSmoker.com, and all other domain names under their control that incorporate, reference, or mimic any of the UPS® Family of Marks.”

A judge rejected UPS’s request for a temporary restraining order against the weed operation on Feb. 15, Marijuana Business Daily reports.

Bloomberg Law reported that the defendants named by UPS in the complaint could not be reached for comment.

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.
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