Alison Malsbury, a Seattle lawyer who specializes in marijuana trade law, said this marketing sleight of hand could be the best defense against Roor’s lawsuits. The accused sellers could challenge the legality of the company’s 2009 trademark, which specifically calls its product a bong. If a product violates federal law, it can’t be trademarked or patented.
And Roor, she said, would have to show it never went after the pot market — which might be hard given its bongs have won numerous awards in High Times magazine’s annual Cannabis Cup competition. She said this might be why many of these lawsuits have settled and none have gone to trial — neither Roor nor the sellers want to discuss their business before a judge.
“To go into court and say under oath that what you are doing is a crime, that’s something a lot of people are unwilling to do,” she said.