No one ever accused Budway cannabis dispensary of being subtle.
The Vancouver store’s logo features light and dark green letters with arrows on them set against an oval background — a nod to the Subway sandwich chain that a Federal Court judge has found too overt.
Budway’s mascot is a seemingly stoned, joint-smoking, marijuana-filled submarine sandwich whose motto reads: “It’s the way, bud.”
But Justice Nicholas McHaffie says there’s no way Budway can continue infringing on Subway’s trademark.
The decision is a primer on trademark law and a reminder that a friendly homage to a well-known brand can lead into dangerous legal territory.
The judge ordered Budway’s owner to pay the chain $40,000 this week and to destroy any signs, goods, packages and labels marked with the cannabis dispensary’s not-so-distinctive logo.
Although there was no evidence the tiny company actually ate into Subway’s annual $1.8 billion Cdn sales in this country, McHaffie found Budway had effectively tried to borrow on Subway’s reputation to sell its products.
His analysis of the case began with the resemblance between the two logos.
“In each case, the word element of the mark is similar, with the similarities in letters and pronunciation between SUBWAY and BUDWAY being self-evident,” McHaffie wrote.
“The fact that ‘budway’ is not itself a word means that it would tend to be read