The Walking Dead Wins Trademark Battle Over The Toking Dead

The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman has won a trademark battle against the creators and publishers of a cannabis-themed comic book called The Toking Dead who attempted to register its name as a trademark for retail store services featuring clothing, mugs and other consumer goods.

Robert Kirkman Wins Trademark Battle With The Toking Dead
The Toking Dead #1.

Benjamin K. Bartlett and Jeffrey T. Homan have created a comic book line called The Toking Dead and merchandise, including clothing, to boot. The pair were hit with a cease-and-desist message from AMC, broadcaster of The Walking Dead TV show, after they registered a trademark, back in 2017. The court appeal to the Trademark board on behalf of Robert kirkman has been running since then, with impassioned please from both sides.

This included Jeffrey T Homan's statements about how The Toking Dead had nothing to do with The Walking Dead – indeed they were on a mission to educate.

The Toking Dead, however, is unique in its own right. Combining cannabis with zombies to educate about the medicinal benefits of the plant is something new and different and has never been done before. The originality of the story line itself is something that is being embraced as nothing less than genius. Unlike The Walking Dead and the multitudes of zombie stories and movies available today, it is an adult, education based comedy written to help end the stigma of cannabis. To claim otherwise would be a disservice to all the creative minds out there.

And indeed, he had a whole spiel.

The United States is a land of free enterprise and The Toking Dead made the decision to stand up for this right and fight for what we believe in. Big corporations have no right to bully the little guys with their power, lawyers and endless financial resources. We are not attorneys, we could not afford to hire one to defend ourselves, and because of this we stand the chance to lose what a government agency approved? Doesn't sound fair or constitutional to me. I question as to why The Toking Dead is considered the defendants in this case. Unlike someone who commits a crime, we don't even have the option of a court appointed lawyer to represent us. All proper steps were taken. The mark was approved. Why isn't the dispute with the USPTO who approved it? I think it's a sad situation when people work hard, take all the necessary steps and still end up defending themselves with no representation in a case like this. Nothing more than a disservice in my opinion and a failure by the government and it's agencies. Non the less, we will continue to fight for our rights, alone and un aided if necessary.

Sadly, they didn't get anywhere and, despite some entertaining back and forth over the dictionary definition of 'toking', they lost their case and The Walking Dead won.  They still sell The Toking Dead comic books and merchandise, however, they just can't trademark it…

Robert Kirkman Wins Trademark Battle With The Toking Dead
The Toking Dead for sale.

Let's have a little look at some of their comics… hang on…

The Walking Dead Wins Trademark Battle Over The Toking Dead
The Toking Dead artwork.

To the lawyer's office!

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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