Snoop Dogg Facing Legal Challenge From Toronto Maple Leafs Over Cannabis Company Logo, Branding
When they visit Little Caesars Arena tonight to face the Detroit Red Wings, the Toronto Maple Leafs would love to focus solely on their immediate competition and the other foes they will face as the NHL playoff race intensifies. However, the historic franchise has another sort of opponent that it's looking to skate past: Calvin Broadus, known as Snoop Dogg to the legions of fans who have made him a chart-topping solo artist for more than 25 years. The hockey organization and the rapper are engaging in a legal tussle over the cannabis company logo and branding Snoop is looking to trademark.
The Toronto Maple Leafs, one of ice hockey's best-known franchises, are opposing Snoop Dogg's attempts to trademark branding for his cannabis company https://t.co/oKj3SIDkmv
— Ed Malyon (@eaamalyon) January 31, 2019
Outside of their confrontation, the award-winning performer and the Canadian club already find themselves parts of the news cycle, as the former will soon release his 17th studio album, “I Wanna Thank Me” (oh, that grammar, Mr. Broadis!) and the latter is looking to end its 52-year Stanley Cup drought as the second-place team in the Atlantic Division.
Because of their clout, with Snoop Dogg existing as a go-to cash cow for the music industry and the Maple Leafs holding esteem as one of the Original Six NHL teams, their legal clash could play out like a battle of two enforcers in a hockey arena. By that, we mean that they can commence by sizing each other up and then throwing nonstop haymakers.
The first element of that scenario has marginally commenced, as Snoop Dogg filed for the "Leafs by Snoop" trademark in July. The team countered that his spelling choice—"Leafs" rather than "Leaves," another grammatical gaffe of which the hockey team is guilty, too—could cause consumers confusion. Add to that objection the belief that his leaf depiction too closely resembles Toronto’s, and we have the makings of what could be a drawn-out battle of attrition since his logo choice, his adversary contends, calls on “a design echoing and highly similar to the MAPLE LEAFS’ design marks.”
Now, we here at Promo Marketing are not going to tackle the merits of Snoop's marijuana start-up, but we do want to address the legitimacy of the Maple Leafs’ gripes. Yes, Snoop Dogg clearly calls on “Leafs,” a spelling that the Toronto outfit has called upon since 1927 in United States Commerce and that which serves as a common truncation of their “Maple Leafs” identifier, but he could argue that “Leafs” alone is not enough to constitute an overstepping of legal boundaries.
As for the logo, we make it a point to go for regular eye examinations, so it could be tough for the Maple Leafs to argue that his cannabis-centric emblem trespasses on the protected nature of their insignia. In fact, we find it a wonder that the organization has not chided him for having Leafs by Snoop spread out over three lines just like its name is stretched. Our elementary legal take aside, Snoop Dogg could certainly come to smoke the competition that is the Maple Leafs’ objection, but the ice hockey nobles could end up running a successful power play against his efforts.
Since Toronto filed its opposition in December, fans might be looking for the Maple Leafs to beat more than the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Boston Bruins and others as winter intensifies and spring beckons.