Wine Spectator totally narcs on Weed Spectator with trademark lawsuit

Illustration for article titled Wine Spectator totally narcs on Weed Spectator with trademark lawsuit
Photo: Michał Chodyra (iStock), UrosPoteko (iStock)

Many wine enthusiasts gravitate toward Wine Spectator, a magazine that offers a handy 100-point rating system to make wine buying simpler. Why not, the Sacramento-based Modern Wellness Inc. must have reasoned, host a similar product for the weed enthusiast? So the company created Weed Spectator, using a typeface similar to Wine Spectator’s for its logo, and even adding a 100-point weed rating system.


Ingenious! And also, in the vocab of the pothead: Not cool, man. This week, Reuters announces that “M. Shanken Communications Inc., the publisher of Wine Spectator magazine, has filed a lawsuit accusing the northern California-based operators of Weed Spectator of infringing its trademarks, and copying its familiar 100-point rating scale for wine to rate cannabis.”

The complaint states that Wine Spectator’s unintended association with Weed Spectator “is likely to tarnish the reputation and goodwill that has been built up in the Wine Spectator marks and business for decades, resulting in dilution of the brand.” Neither the plaintiffs or the defendants were available for comment. With marijuana becoming increasingly more legal across the country, not saying a pot guide isn’t a good idea, possibly with different categories or edibles, popular baked (ha) recipes, etc. (although, High Times still appears to be going strong). But straight-up copyright infringement is never going to fly.


Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.



Dispensaries now refer to strains previously known as Gorilla Glue #4 and Girl Scout Cookies as GG4 and GSC to avoid receiving C&D letters when their menu is up on WeedMaps. I believe a dispensary in Denver had to scrap a Peyton Manning strain too. Orange Crush is probably another strain that will need a renaming...

was a lot easier to name strains when you didn’t have to worry about copyrights