Why a LinkedIn legal dispute forced a cannabis company to change its name


“The word leaf held a lot of significance to us, so we were brainstorming and finally came up with LeafedIn,” explains founder John Khainson

What’s in a name? Legally, quite a bit.

A social networking company for the cannabis industry called LeafedIn discovered this for itself after an intellectual property dispute with LinkedIn upon filing for trademark registration in 2017. The dispute finally concluded with the California-based company announcing a name change: LeafedIn is now LeafedOut.

“The word leaf held a lot of significance to us, so we were brainstorming and finally came up with LeafedIn,” explains founder John Khainson, who launched the digital platform in April 2016.

Khainson was working as a product manager for Calypso technology when he came up with an idea to connect cannabis businesses and services through a map-based app.

“There was a lack infrastructure, connecting mom-and-pop shops, small businesses, generational growers. They didn’t necessarily have the digital tools to establish visibility and brand presence,” says Khainson. “I am not a product developer, but my job at that time taught me to understand client demand and develop a product that meets all those aspects.”

LeafedOut is a mix of Facebook and Craigslist, a platform that makes it easier to locate cannabis businesses seeking visibility and, subsequently, highlights jobs within the community.

“We are compliant, but can’t be responsible for what happens outside of the platform, just like Craigslist. We don’t facilitate paid transactions and there’s no sale of cannabis on the platform,” Khainson says.

With the legal setback behind them, the platform is back on track. “We have under 500,000 registered users and hit 3 million page views per month. And we didn’t lose out on that despite the legal dispute,” says Khainson.

As for the change in name, he remains upbeat, “The brand is so much bigger than the name. It’s a service and that’s what’s counts.”

LeafedOut, meanwhile, can still be found on LinkedIn.

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