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Judge Won't Give Vape Co. Win In 'Big Chief' TM Suit

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The holder of the "Big Chief" vape trademark couldn't score a pretrial win declaring him its rightful owner in a lawsuit against his former partners, after a California state court judge said he failed to show he had continuously used the mark. While Samuel Kim and his company Cali Blue Sky Investment Inc. have claimed throughout the litigation that he is the first user of the Big Chief name on cigarettes, vapes and cannabis products, he has failed on several occasions to provide specific details in his depositions which would prove he used the mark on a regular basis after first putting it on cigarettes in 2013, said Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Anne Richardson in her Wednesday order. Without this, Judge Richardson said she could not issue an order saying that Kim's former partners, operators of JRJS LLC, engaged in common-law trademark infringement. Furthermore, Kim's claims for statutory trademark infringement against JRJS also fell apart because, while he may have registered the Big Chief mark with the state in 2020, both sides were in a partnership using the name years earlier, the judge said. The registration, therefore, does not predate JRJS's usage.


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