May 22, 2007

On May 10th, the Hershey Co. filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Kenneth Affolter two months after he was sentenced to nearly 6 years in prison for criminal acts related to his manufacture of marijuana-laced candy. According to the San Francisco Chronicle news article (link below), Affolter’s products, under the Beyond Bomb name, included Munchy Ways, Buaddahfingers, Puff-a-Mint Patties, Rasta Reese’s, Keef Kat, Toka-Cola, and Stoney Ranchers. This lawsuit, filed by Hershey and its trademark management subsidiary in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Division, alleges unfair competition and trademark dilution in addition to its trademark infringement claims, and seeks $100,000 in damages. In March of this year, Affolter was fined and sentenced to 70 months in prison for his role in manufacturing the marijuana-laced products. During a raid of a number of warehouses, officials obtained nearly $200,000 in cash, nearly 30,000 growing marijuana plants, and a small stash of weapons. The initial raid occurred in March of 2006, and as shown in The Smoking Gun article (link below, with several product images), additional marijuana-laced products, including 3 Rastateers, Tri-Chrome Crunch, and Twixed candies, four flavors of Pot Tarts, and a line of “Jones’n” sodas (including Puffsi (Pepsi), Joint (Jolt), Bong’s (Barq’s), and Chronic (Crush)) were also being manufactured and distributed by the drug ring Affolter was involved in. According to the York Dispatch news article (link below), Affolter is attempting to reach a settlement with Hershey.

San Francisco Chronicle News Article: LINK
York Dispatch News Article: LINK
The Smoking Gun Article: LINK


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I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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