In the rarefied world of high-end bong makers, Roor glass water pipes have long been smoked to impress. The status symbols are so sought after that some models command prices of $1,000. There’s even a diamond-studded, gold-gilded Roor that goes for nearly $4,000.
Both marijuana and the tools used to smoke it remain illegal under federal law, but that hasn’t stopped Roor and its American licensee from using the federal courts to protect the brand and its sales.
In Florida, California and New York, lawyers are accusing smoke shops and mom-and-pop convenience stores of selling counterfeit Roor bongs in violation of U.S. Trademark No. 3675839, protecting “SMOKER’S ARTICLES, NAMELY, GLASS PIPES, BONGS, WATER PIPES, (and) WATER PIPES OF GLASS” sold under the Roor mark, which has “a stylized font with the last “R” facing backwards.”
Almost 200 such lawsuits have been filed since 2013, most of them in the last year.
“Counterfeiting is a huge problem for us,” said Jay Farraj, the owner of Sream Inc., Roor’s U.S. partner. He said the Corona, California, company’s losses have been in the “millions.”
Now that marijuana has increasingly been legalized for medical or recreational use in some U.S. states, consumer demand for such drug paraphernalia is booming, and imitators of the German pipe maker abound.But the bong market remains a grey area legally. Most makers and sellers advertise them as tobacco pipes, while giving a wink and a nod to their use with marijuana.