Trademark Protection for Cannabis, Hemp and CBD Brands

Dec 11, 2019

What brand protection options are available for businesses in the cannabis, hemp, CBD or related industries?

A company’s trademarks are the business-world equivalent to a castle’s moat or high perimeter walls – they are vital for survival and exist to keep unwanted competition from “stealing” or infringing upon what, in many organizations, are their most valuable assets – intellectual property. The 2018 Farm Bill made trademark registration for CBD and hemp products and services federally available through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The Farm Bill’s enactment, along with other recent developments and trends throughout the US cannabis industry, has led to significant growth in trademark applications filed by/for cannabis, CBD, and hemp organizations.

Watch this presentation to better understand the tactics your business can implement to increase protection for your business.

Key Takeaways from the Presentation

  • Trademark registration provides numerous benefits for businesses to protect their brands and reduce the risks of costly trademark disputes.
  • Following the enactment of the 2018 Farm Bill, trademark registration for CBD and hemp products and services are now federally available with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
  • For applications filed on or after December 20, 2018, the 2018 Farm Bill potentially removes the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as a ground for refusal of registration for goods encompassing CBD, but only if the goods are derived from hemp.
  • Products regulated by the FDA may face additional hurdles obtaining USPTO approval. That’s not to say there aren’t workarounds that have been exploited. Currently, USPTO rules allow companies three years before they must provide documentation of the product’s intended use.
  • For cannabis brands, USPTO registration may be available for other products or services that don’t involve the CSA, including apparel and websites.
  • State trademark registration may also be a useful tool for cannabis brands to use. Because of the varying nature of marijuana legality on a state-by-state basis, many companies are starting to establish a brand presence (with trademarks) in legalized states.
  • State and federal trademark applications must also comply with typical application requirements, such as proper descriptions of goods or services and proper evidence of use.

Because of the ever-changing, always-puzzling nuances of trademark law, especially when dealing in the cannabis space, it is continually advised that brand owners consult with an experienced legal counsel before making any major decisions. Schedule a consultation with one of Vicente Sederberg’s trademark specialists to discuss your brand protection and trademark application needs.

 

This article and recorded webinar are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal or tax advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any issue or problem.