Perhaps one lesser-known fact about three-Michelin-starred fine dining destination the French Laundry is that the restaurant name is a held trademark by the French Laundry Restaurant Corporation. However, cannabis company Maven Genetics became intimately familiar with this factoid after naming its (appropriately?) award-winning cannabis strain after the Thomas Keller-led restaurant. Forbes reports that the French Laundry sent Maven a cease and desist letter, which the company immediately decided to honor “with a blend of pride and a touch of regret,” according to a press release from Maven.
“Maven has received a cease and desist letter from the renowned Napa restaurant French Laundry, citing trademark infringement issues,” the press release states, in part. “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.” Maven brand director Miguel De Vivo told Forbes the name was a play on the cannabis strains LA Rouge and the Soap; nonetheless, the company confirmed that all references to French Laundry have since been scrubbed from its website and packaging.
And it does seem like the brand is having some fun with the controversy, renaming it “FKAFL,” or “Formerly Known as French Laundry,” the news outlet reports. “The normalizing aspect of it, the fact that we’re garnering attention from the culinary world at such a level,” De Vivo told Forbes, “for us, it’s surprising that they noticed. Being in the same realm is exciting.”