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Report On Business MLSE buys time on challenge to Snoop Dogg’s pot product line

Logo for Snoop Dogg's marijuana company.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are once again considering snuffing out a trademark application filed by rapper Snoop Dogg over his line of marijuana products.

The National Hockey League team's parent company bought itself time on Tuesday to decide whether to formally oppose a second trademark application filed for Leafs by Snoop, the marijuana company owned by the rapper also known as Calvin Broadus. The application specifically deals with the words Leafs by Snoop, "without any claim to any particular font, style, size or colour," to be used on cigarette lighters not made of precious metals.

Thomas Prochnow, a lawyer representing NHL Enterprises, filed the request for an extension of time on Aug. 16 on behalf of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE). The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the application, giving MLSE 90 days to decide whether it will formally oppose Snoop's application.

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The request for a time extension is a common strategy for brand owners wishing to settle trademark issues outside of court. A similar extension was granted in June, when MLSE requested more time to consider the rapper's trademark application, which featured the words Leafs by Snoop "presented on three lines and superimposed over a golden leaf design."

The extension of time is an administrative action that is separate from legal action, which is more comprehensive and deals with providing evidence on issues such as brand confusion and dilution.

Snoop Dogg previously filed a trademark application in January, 2015, for the Leafs by Snoop trademark for use on clothing, including hats, shirts, sweatshirts and hoodies. That trademark application was abandoned in November.

The rapper also filed another trademark application in July for the Leafs by Snoop mark that would be used on other items, including potting soil, hemp fabric, hemp seeds and blunts made from hemp. It is likely that MLSE will file a similar extension for time ahead of the expiration date for opposition filings.

The Leafs by Snoop logo is used on the rapper's line of marijuana products sold in retail stores in Colorado.

MLSE has previously engaged in legal fights over the Maple Leafs brand.

In the summer of 2011, MLSE filed a court injunction against Ryerson University, demanding that the school stop using the name Maple Leaf Gardens in connection with the redeveloped arena once home to the NHL team. In the end, with the threat of a lawsuit looming, the school decided to use a different name for the historic site instead.

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MLSE is not the only hockey organization that has a history of protecting its trademarks.

In 2000, the NHL and the Minnesota Wild launched a legal challenge over the Canadian Wildlife Federation's Wild magazine. The hockey body also demanded $89,000 from a Montreal restaurant owner in 2011 for putting up a sign showing a man in a Canadiens jersey slicing up shawarma.

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