MAIPL News and Updates
Mancinelli & Associates Intellectual Property La
September 26 2017

Mancinelli & Associates, P.C.
111 John Street, Suite 800
New York, New York 10038
Dark Web Drug Dealer's Trademark
Application Gets Him Nailed

By Steven Mancinelli, September 20, 2017

The subject of this article could be filed in the category of "dumb criminals."  And here's why.

In 2015, David Ryan Buchard of Merced, California, was already under investigation by the US Postal Inspector and a special agent for Homeland Security Investigation ("HSI") for suspicion of drug dealing.  They believed that Buchard was doing his transactions on a dark web drug marketplace known as The Silk Road.  They were trying to track Buchard's Bitcoin transactions on The Silk Road.  Bitcoin is a form of digital money technically known as "crypto-currency," as opposed to "fiat-currency" (i.e., money created and regulated by governments).  Crypto-currencies, including Bitcoin, are legal for private transactions, but are very often used by drug traffickers because the users' real identities are cloaked by pseudonyms.
   Then HSI Special Agent Matthew Larsen learned that Buchard had actually filed a U.S. trademark application to register the mark CALI CONNECT, U.S. trademark application Serial No. 86317958.  Buchard's trademark application covered t-shirts and hooded sweat shirts, in Class 25 - nothing about drugs, of course.  He filed the application without counsel and it was a procedural mess.  The application also received a refusal to register on the grounds of likelihood of confusion with a prior existing trademark registration, CALI CONNECTED, Reg. No. 3800554, for apparel in Class 25.  If Buchard had done some due diligence and conducted a trademark clearance, especially with competent counsel, the cited CALI CONNECTED registration would have been found and Buchard would have been advised that his CALI CONNECT mark was in direct conflict with this registration.  Buchard might have saved himself the substantial grief that was to come (and quite frankly, grief which he fully deserved).
   Special Agent Larsen decided to see if Buchard's CALI CONNECT brand had any connection with The Silk Road drug marketplace.  His dark web research revealed that the "Cali Connect" domain and website, owned by Buchard, was indeed trafficking on The Silk Road.  After the FBI seized The Silk Road's servers, HSI investigators were able to examine the depth of emails and transactions involving the Cali Connect website.  They found as much 977 separate marijuana and cocaine transactions by Cali Connect, amounting to $1.43 million in drug sales.  It turned out that Buchard's "Cali Connect" dark website was a large-scale vendor on The Silk Road.  In fact, "Cali Connect" was The Silk Road's 18th largest out of 4,000 drug vendors.  Buchard's attempt to register his CALI CONNECT trademark tipped off investigators and led them to the mother-load of evidence against him.
   When HSI agents raided Buchard's home in 2016, they found drug-sale paraphernalia, a trash bag full of marijuana, and t-shirts branded with the CALI CONNECT trademark.  It appears that David Buchard may indeed had been trying to develop a "legitimate" CALI CONNECT brand to cover for his real, illegal business - or, maybe not....
Source: United States of America v. David Ryan Buchard, Case No. 16-mj-00038-BAM, U.S. District Court, E.D. California.

    Steven Mancinelli

Representing clients in the areas of:
Intellectual Property Matters:
- Copyrights - Trademarks - Trade secrets 
- Product and service licensing
- Technology licensing - Publishing - Product branding
Business and Corporate Matters:  
- Contracts - Contract Disputes
- Business/Commercial Litigation 
- Shareholder Disputes or "Business Divorces"

Mancinelli & Associates

Intellectual Property Law 


Mancinelli & Associates, P.C.
111 John Street, Suite 800
New York, New York 10038
Mancinelli & Associates, P.C.


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