Kaloud, a California-based manufacturer of hookahs, was just awarded $2 million in statutory damages by a U.S. District Court jury that found that a competitor of Kaloud had willfully infringed the company’s trademark, Lotus, by selling knockoff Lotus hookahs. A hookah (also known as a “sishas”) is a device that vaporizes tobacco or cannabis so it can be inhaled. Hookah’s are considered health hazards since they fail to filter out the most dangerous chemicals in the tobacco or cannabis, and the water through which the smoke passes can easily capture and pass along bacteria and other contaminants.
For those who grew up in the 60s and 70s – and have any memory of their drug experiences – the common slang for hookah is “bong.” If you’ve never seen a bong, just rent any Cheech and Chong movie. In fact, there is actually a line of Cheech and Chong bongs. But back to Kaloud and its lawsuit.
The Kaloud attorneys were prepared when they went to court. They had hired an investigator who purchased 20 fake Lotus hookahs from Shisha Land Wholesale, and the investigator was told by the Shisha Land Wholesale folks that the hookahs he had purchased were the real thing.
Where do we start? That his all occurred in California? We could have guessed that. That there is a large enough base of customers for bongs that one company actually geared up production to make knockoffs of another company’s trademarked bong? That there is actually a following of Lotus bong buyers who were defrauded by fake products? That the buyers of the real Lotus hookah, or a fake Lotus hookah, even know the difference? And…why did they need to purchase 20 fake Lotus hookahs when one would have been sufficient to make their case? Unless Kaloud is making a case for racketeering against Shisha Land Wholesale? In which, we will need to start a racketeering blog.