A few weeks ago while I was at a Hookah bar I was looking at the merchandise they had as I was leaving and noticed a lot of the glass they were selling had trademarked material on it. Nintendo and Sesame Street do not license their characters for pipes used to smoke.
I saw Elmo’s face on one pipe. It was not in a parody way, but the exact face Elmo has. Most companies do not send personal to smoke shops to investigate trademark infringement. That and most states have a low smoke shop economy. I live in Oregon, so the industry is pretty big over here. It seems every few months there is a new smoke shop opening. 5 years ago there was only 1 within 10 miles of where I lived. Now there is 5 stores. After seeing the Elmo glass, I went to the other stores to see if they had simpler merchandise.
Of the 5 stores I went to, 2 had trademark infringing glass wear, 1 had t-shirts that were obviously counterfeited. Keep in mind, these are smoke shops. I did not go into other Hookah bars like how I found the first one. This is because it was the the only Hookah place that sold glass.
I wanted to buy the fake glass pipes to show for this post, but I did not have to. A simple Google search shows all types of infringement.
Here is a Charmander being sold on Etsy. Notice the reviews. The seller sold quite a lot.
Here is a screen shot from Google images:
Glass pipes like this are very common for any brand that is popular. Instead of Pokemon, search a different term. As more smoke shops come into play, there will be more cases of this. Shops can buy these items dirt cheap from China and resell them here in the US for huge markups. The designs such as Pokemon are very appealing to buyers. As a kid, I loved Pokemon. I think these glass items look cool, but I know they are cheap imports from China and most likely are painted with lead.
Glass is not the only thing that is sold at these shops that infringe on trademarks.
The settlement follows Hershey’s June 2014 suit in which it alleged that TinctureBelle, LLC, a Colorado-based manufacturer of marijuana edibles, sold THC-laced knock-offs of Hershey’s famous Reese’s, Heath, Almond Joy, and York brands. As seen in the images below, TinctureBelle marketed its candy products under confusingly similar trademarks and trade dress as Hershey’s originals—it sold “Hashees” instead of Reese’s, and “Ganja Joy” in place of Almond Joy.