Florida IP Trends
The Legend of the Legendary Brand
In my cannabis-trademarks presentations, I have some slides showing companies who have used mutations of “famous” brands such as Reese’s and Hershey’s to sell cannabis-related products. The cannabis manufacturers generally think this is “parody” and allowed, but it’s usually not, and the non-cannabis brand owner typically wins based on trademark infringement and/or dilution.
There are also companies trying to recapture the legendary and murky past of cannabis strains. For example, there have been federal trademark applications for PANAMA RED and other well-known cannabis strains.
Today, I read about another trademark/branding issue. I won’t repeat the entire story since it was well-told HERE, by Gary Stein.
In a nutshell, a pre-legalization-boom pioneer grower in Florida became associated as the source of a particular strain, MYAKKA GOLD. Fast forward a couple of decades that included prison time, the destruction of all MYAKKA GOLD genetics, and a pardon, and we now have legal cannabis in Florida. According to Mr. Stein’s article, one of Florida’s licensees, Surterra, has named its product MYAKKA GOLD. In fact, the entire brand is built around “the legend” of “Florida’s Finest”, namely, MYAKKA GOLD.
Donnie Clark’s 2013 book as available on Amazon
Legally, the company may be in the clear. If nobody else is using that name as a mark, or if it was being used and has been abandoned, then it’s quite possibly free for the taking. But here’s where trademark law concepts become important. The purpose of trademark law is to protect consumers from confusion as to the source of the goods. When you buy a Pepsi, you expect it to taste like the same Pepsi you’ve always known and loved. This is also why companies who license their trademarks to other manufacturers must exercise quality control – the Kit Kat you buy from Factory A should taste like the Kit Kat from Factory B.
Surterra’s “Myakka Gold” as advertised at floridasfinest.com
In this case, we see how important branding can be with regard to cannabis. This is a snippet from the article quoting Donnie Clark, the alleged founder of MYAKKA GOLD:
“They never talked to me. They never even called me.,” Donnie said. The Feds destroyed every bit of what he had, down to the seeds. “Besides, I saw that description on the internet. First thing that hit me was that they say it’s an indica(hybrid). It was not damn indica! It was straight sativa!” And as far as the terpene profile, that mixture of organic chemicals that give the plant its unique taste, smell and effect? According to Surterra, their Myakka Gold has a, “unique terpene profile of low Myrcene, and high limonene gives it characteristics of Sativa. It also has a high percentage of Caryophylene thanks to its Indica parents. This Florida Original has a complex pine and berry aroma”. According to Donnie, “Nah”.
Note that Donnie said that MYAKKA GOLD was a sativa whereas the new user of the name is saying that it’s an indica hybrid. Also, the terpene profile was different. This can be extremely important for patient safety, expectations and consumer confusion purposes. If the public has come to identify MYKKA GOLD as having characteristics ABC, and this MYKKA GOLD “2.0” has characteristics XYZ, then trademark law fails. Of course, in this instance, (federal) trademark law is of no help because cannabis remains illegal at the federal level. Under Florida state trademark law, the new user might be able to get a registration, but we’re still left with a possible misappropriation of “the legend.”
I think we will see more of this as brands try more unique ways to engage with consumers via backstory and “legend.” See, e.g. www.garrisonlane.com (not as an example of misappropriation but as an example of the hyped backstory as sales tool).
BONUS CONTENT: There was a federal trademark application approved in 2014 for MYAKKA GOLD for use with rum, but the applicant never followed up with providing specimens of use.
BONUS EXAM QUESTION: There is a Myakka River in Florida. Does that change the trademark analysis?
In my cannabis-trademarks presentations, I have some slides showing companies who have used mutations of "famous" brands such as Reese's and Hershey's to sell cannabis-related products. The cannabis manufacturers generally think this is "parody" and allowed, but it's usually not, and the non-cannabis brand owner typically wins based on trademark infringement and/or dilution. There are…
Florida’s Finest Myakka Native Variable Flow
Myakka Native (also known as Myakka Gold) has a subdued, earthy profile due to its unique terpene profile. The citrus notes of limonene in it’s profile stand out, resulting in bright, citrus overtones. This strain’s sativa dominance rings true for anyone searching for a mental uplift.
Myakka Native is typically selected to treat pain, stress, insomnia, appetite loss, and muscle spasms. Its potent psychoactive effects are clearly detectable in both mind and body, delivering a fusion of cerebral euphoria and physical relaxation. As it helps treat stress and pain, its calming properties will allow you to rest peacefully.
Cannabinoid Content: CBD .5mg – THC 41mg
Ingredients: Pure refined cannabis oil, naturally derived terpenes
- Reviews (11)
11 reviews for Florida’s Finest Myakka Native Variable Flow
Dan Scovern – March 16, 2020
The bud is nice … I use during day only . I never vaped it . It’s got an earthy taste that leaves a piney after taste. $30 an eighth at the dispensary
Sky – February 27, 2020
This is fake Myakka Gold. Cheap marketing strategy to profit off of the decades of work by Donnie Clark. Steer clear of this stuff
Dave – July 2, 2019
No flower? I was always turned off by “blends”, which describes Surterra’s pens. A strain called “relief” or “bliss”? I don’t think so.
More flower and more strains!
kenneth robinson – May 27, 2019
HOW CAN I LEARN TO RE-FILL THE TANKS AFTER THEY ARE EMPTY.
I WOULD LIKE TO BE ABLE TO SAVE SOME$.
ANT ADVICE WOULD BE HELPFUL.
Christopher T lang – May 25, 2019
The price is way to high.When I started the mmj program I would buy these up.The prices should be 30 or 40.When they come to reality and help people I will buy them again.This was my favorite product until I figured out how to fill my own for half the price.Now I get 1 gram and fill my own last longer.
The Graham – May 22, 2019
I might be prejudiced because Myakka Native came from Florida, but this strain generates some seriously good feelings. It also seriously helped my nausea.
The cartridge is way too complex for the process occurring. The words over-designed come to mind, but don’t listen to me. I’m an accountant, not a cannabis engineer. I’m just wondering if you can beat your competitor on $/mg by focusing on product and not the device.
Because this is some fine product.
Floridastyle420 – February 18, 2019
I like the earthy taste of this strain. More of a Hybrid than the original Myakka Gold that was a true Sativa strain. I don’t like the cartridges they use on all Floridas Finest line.
BOB – February 16, 2019
Tried this for the first time last week, I can not taste any lemon or lime, all it does is choke. You definitely need a 4.3 volt battery to get it all used up. This is an added cost. Mine plugged up all the time and took a while to learn how to use it. I find Suterra products pricey since i will be re buying every other week. The desired effect is good but i dont like choking my brains out to receive it. They need to have a rewards program to help with the high price for returning patients. I will try again. Only 4 stars for choking it really not smooth.
charles watkins – November 10, 2018
Great for pain and anxiety
Vera D. – August 26, 2018
A big fan of this product. It delivers on relaxation from stress and pain, and you can still be as focused as you want.
Susan K – August 26, 2018
This Florida grown strain has helped me get to sleep and stay asleep longer. I have insomnia which is made worse by pain and stress. The first time I used this brand I slept six hours, the longest I have slept in several years. My pain and muscle spasms were improved and I woke up feeling rested.
Standard Daily Use: Your recommended dosage may vary – please consult with your physician for proper dosage.
How to use this product:
Screw the Florida’s Finest Vaporizer cartridge onto the Florida’s Finest Adjustable Airflow Vaporizer pen. Make sure the contact head is secured tightly.
Press your lips against the mouthpiece and begin vaporizing by taking a 3-second draw.
This product has approximately 210 doses based on an average draw of 3 seconds. Each 3-second draw contains approximately 2.0 mg of active product.
Onset Time: 2 minutes – 5 minutes
Duration: 1 hour – 4 hours
Cash & CanPay Accepted
This product has intoxicating effects and may be habit forming. There may be health risks associated with the consumption of this product. This product is infused with marijuana or active compounds of marijuana. This product should not be used by women that are pregnant or breastfeeding. For use by adults as well as children only as recommended by a physician. Keep out of reach of children. Florida dispensary products containing THC can impair concentration, coordination and judgment. Do not operate a vehicle or heavy machinery under the influence of this drug.
Caution: when consumed, the intoxicating effects of this drug may be delayed by two (2) or more hours.
This product may be unlawful outside the state of Florida.
Myakka Native (also known as Myakka Gold) has a subdued, earthy profile due to its unique terpene profile. The citrus notes of limonene in it’s profile stand out, resulting in bright, citrus overtones. This strain’s sativa dominance rings true for anyone searching for a mental uplift. Myakka Native is typically selected to treat pain, stress, insomnia, appetite loss, and muscle spasms. Its potent psychoactive effects are clearly detectable in both mind and body, delivering a fusion of cerebral euphoria and physical relaxation. As it helps treat stress and pain, its calming properties will allow you to rest peacefully. Strain: Myakka Native Cannabinoid Content: CBD .5mg – THC 41mg Ingredients: Pure refined cannabis oil, naturally derived terpenes For Use With: Florida’s Finest Adjustable Airflow Vaporizer Pen Sold By: Surterra Wellness Categories: Vape Cartridges, Sativa Dominant, Hybrid Leave Your Review: Write A Review