Matthew Suárez 11 a.m., Nov. 28
Medical Marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access sued over trademark infringement
Orange County businessman and former dispensary owner says he obtained rights to the name and wants the sites shut down.
As if accessing medicinal marijuana wasn't hard enough for some patients in San Diego County, now it appears that even advocates are having a hard time maintaining access to their name and website.
Last week, an Anaheim-based businessman and former Medical Marijuana dispensary owner Steel Clark Smith III filed a lawsuit against the San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access for trademark infringement.
Smith III claims he has rights to the name 'Americans for Safe Access' after registering it with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in October of last year.
Reads the lawsuit:
Plaintiff is informed and believes and thereon alleges that Defendants are presently using SMITH's Mark on the interne, in email communications, and as well as within various promotional materials, advertisements and signs, without authorization of SMITH.
Plaintiff is informed and believes and thereon alleges that Defendant SAN DIEGO AMERICANS FOR SAFE ACCESS, Defendant SAN DIEGO ASA, and Defendant SAN DIEGO CHAPTER OF AMERICANS FOR SAFE ACCESS, and each of them, use SMITH's Mark throughout their website, "safeaccesssd.org ," as well as on Facebook and Twitter accounts, and that SMITH's Mark is used without authorization...
Plaintiff is engaged in substantially exclusive use and exploitation of SMITH's Mark in connection with the California corporation, ASA National, of which he is an officer, and association arising from the similarity between Defendants' various trade names and SMITH's Mark, harms the reputation of SMITH's Mark...
Smith III is demanding that the advocacy group pay his legal costs and immediately stop using the registered name without his permission.
But the lawsuit grows a bit cloudy when searching the internet for information on Steele Clark Smith III.
According to Idrasil's website, Smith III's wife, Theresa, is listed as the director.
The search also reveals similar legal threats made to Don Duncan, the co-founder of Americans for Safe Access.
"Respectfully, you have until Friday, September 14 to decide wether or not to bind a mutually beneficial consulting agreement," Smith III wrote to Duncan in an email posted on the website, The Weedly News Otherwise, I must tilt the proverbial dominoes and will have no desire to stop. I already have the documents I need to remove conflicting and confusing ASA images, wherever they appear. That means safeaccessnow.org and all chapters with all hosts, statewide."
"I was asked by the Idrasil representative to be given the chance to explain to me my serious ignorance. He also wants to tell me why my writing is so poor. Well, I am happy to meet this person, but only in a public area where there can be clear public documentation and recording of what is said. Perhaps a collective would offer a platform? In addition, I will not meet privately with someone much, much taller than myself whom I had to hang up on, as he was screaming at me. Scary guy, scary company, useless medication."
Another result showed that in February 2013, a U.S. District Court Judge found Steele Clark Smith III guilty of Manufacturing of Marijuana and sentenced him to five years of probation.
The defendant shall not engage, as whole or partial owner, employee or otherwise, in any business involving or related to marijuana collectives or dispensaries, without the express written approval of the Probation Officer prior to engagement in such business or employment. Further, the defendant shall provide the Probation Officer with access to any and all business records, client lists, and other records pertaining to the operation of any business owned, in whole or in part, by the defendant, as directed by the Probation Office.
Message left at the Idrasil headquarters for Steel Clark Smith III and with the San Diego Chapter of Americans for Safe Access were not returned in time for publication.
More like this:
- Oceanside won’t go to pot — June 28, 2014
- District Attorney takes down another medical marijuana dispensary — Oct. 25, 2012
- “Safe Access Now!” Shout Pro-Pot Protesters at Downtown Rally — July 25, 2012
- Former Medical Marijuana Dispensary Manager Files Appeal — Nov. 23, 2011
- Marijuana Advocacy Group Sues Obama Administration — Oct. 27, 2011