An LA-based pot company thought they’d have a laugh by naming one of their products “French Laundry,” until attorneys for the famed Yountville restaurant had some blunt legal threats.
There’s an L.A.-based cannabis brand called Maven Genetics, and you may have seen their products on the shelves at a few SF dispensaries. And this year, they introduced a new strain called French Laundry, likely hoping to capitalize on novelty giggles over the Gavin Newsom dining at French Laundry scandal that put the restaurant's name in national headlines. And I guess the strain wasn’t bad, having won fourth place in the indoor-grown category at this year’s Emerald Cup, and second place in the hybrid category at the SoCal High Times Cup.
French Laundry by Maven Genetics. Savory + sweet. Dark purple and subtly light green buds interlace with sticky orange hairs. 💜 🧡— Leafly (@Leafly) November 17, 2023
We give it 95 points out of 100.
Let ‘er rip. 🔥 🔥
📸 Lindsey Bartletthttps://t.co/Of92HnXTOb pic.twitter.com/vVxIUYlPo8
But the strain has caught the attention of chef Thomas Keller’s three-Michelin starred restaurant French Laundry, who did not take ‘kind’-ly to their trademarked name being used by a marijuana company. And Forbes reports French Laundry’s attorneys sent a case-and-desist letter to the upstart cannabis company.
Forbes reports that the French Laundry sent Maven Genetics a cease and desist letter over its cannabis strain name, which the company immediately decided to honor “with a blend of pride and a touch of regret,” according to a press release. https://t.co/gIohwQwUHW— Eater SF (@eatersf) December 21, 2023
“Maven has received a cease and desist letter from the renowned Napa restaurant French Laundry, citing trademark infringement issues,” the weed company said in a release. “Our strain's name, meant as a playful tribute to its parent genetics, was never intended to infringe on any trademark. However, to avoid potential legal entanglements, we have made the difficult decision to retire the French Laundry name from our product lineup.”
They have since renamed the strain “FKAFL,” and acronym for “formerly known as French Laundry.”
The company tried to spin this as a positive to Forbes. "The normalizing aspect of it, the fact that we're garnering attention from the culinary world at such a level," Maven’s brand director Miguel De Vivo told Forbes. "For us, it's surprising that they noticed. Being in the same realm is exciting."
That is, of course, kind of grandiose. Some Venice Beach weed company is not “in the same realm” as the French Laundry, which is one of only 13 three-starred Michelin restaurants in the U.S. But in terms of free publicity, this stunt may be as good as getting a Michelin star, at least for the short-term.
Image: Maven Genetics