PanXchange, Inc, the market structure solution for physical commodities, today launched the first $50,000 tranche of a fundraising campaign to protect its rights to properly and accurately use the English language.
The Facts: PanXchange presently serves two US markets: industrial hemp and specialty sand (proppants). Thus, its pricing and fundamental analysis reports are titled “PanXchange® Sand: Benchmarks and Analysis” and “PanXchange® Hemp: Benchmarks and Analysis”.
New Leaf Data Services and New Leaf Capital Partners (collectively “NL”) have obtained supplemental registrations from the USPTO for their use of “hemp benchmarks” and “cannabis benchmarks,” respectively. The USPTO registrations are designated supplemental because the word “benchmarks” has been deemed merely descriptive by the USPTO. The combination of the word benchmarks and the words identifying each of the commodities at issue has been deemed merely descriptive by the USPTO. Until NL can demonstrate to the USPTO that “hemp benchmarks” and “cannabis benchmarks have “secondary meanings,” they are not entitled to any of the statutory protections that fully registered marks are entitled.
PanXchange was first to market with its benchmark reports in January 2019, but NL claims to have priority because, in 2016, they purchased the URL hempbenchmarks.com and applied for the supplemental mark.
NL is suing PanXchange for trademark infringement, attempting to claim that PX infringes on the goodwill and reputation NL has garnered in this nascent market. The suit came after NL only issued six market reports released, which they believe constitutes proof of a certain esteem in the nascent hemp market.
PanXchange has not been able to find one example of confusion between the two companies and the services they provide. PX’s opinion is that NL is behaving with an abusive trademark tactic in an attempt to drain PanXchange of precious resources and gain market share through exploitive tactics. We are asking for your help against this nuisance suit so that we can continue to focus on bringing the hemp industry the best news and pricing information.
PanXchange prides itself on the quality of its benchmark prices and fundamental analysis. Goodwill in the industry was earned by hard work, not lazy lawsuits and clever URLs. Take a look and the PX website—see the content , the webinars , and the reports . In the first few months of the Covid shutdown alone, the PX team conducted or participated in over 25 webinars and podcasts, discussing the nascent hemp industry’s issues with stakeholders across the supply chain throughout the US. But what did NL do? Filed a lawsuit against PX because it didn’t like the attention PX was earning. Note that PX’s founder has been invited to the Hemp Industry Association boards and the JPMorgan Commodity Center at the University of Colorado- distinctions not offered to the NL management team.
Asks Lerner, “I ask you, which of these two entities has the interests of the hemp industry at heart and which one thinks it can bully its way to success? We have attempted to settle this with NL only for the NL team to backtrack and force us to incur even more legal expenses. We have an army of industry specialists who are ready to attest to the fact that there has never been confusion between the two companies, their trademarks, nor their products and services.”. She continues, “I think they thought I would be scared by the lawsuit and would immediately stop using the words “hemp” and “benchmarks” together as if they have the right to own words in the dictionary. But PanXchange’s lead as a benchmark price provider was earned through hard work and honest business practices. We have an exceptionally dedicated and qualified team, and I will not yield to their unethical efforts to intimidate us with weak and frivolous legal claims.”
We at PanXchange wish to focus on continuing to provide the industry with valuable intelligence and insights. We will continue to be the leading source for hemp benchmark pricing and analysis because we consistently deliver a better product. Will you help us take a stand for integrity and hard work to fight against exploitive trademark tactics?
- Jim Larsgaard
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