Revisiting Federal and State Trademark Registration for the Cannabis Industry
By Scott Sisun
As of April 2018, 29 states and D.C. have statutes recognizing “medical marijuana;” 9 states and D.C. have approved recreational cannabis; and, 17 states have statutes recognizing “low THC, high cannabidiol (CBD) products for medical reasons in limited situations or as a legal defense.”
With momentum not abating, brand owners in and around the cannabis industry continue to seek a toehold in the intellectual property protection of their assets. Federal laws limiting filings to “lawful” goods and services led to an increase in state trademark filings, and federal trademark filings for ancillary goods and services. As most trademark practitioners are aware, in 2010, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) briefly opened a window to accept “medical marijuana” as an identification of goods. Closure of that window did nothing to deter the surge of filings. Things continue to progress quickly. This Article serves to help the brand owner and counsel stay familiar with federal and state trademark filing strategies for cannabis marks, including why use of a mark must be “lawful,” standard USPTO office action language, potentially acceptable identifications for ancillary goods and services, Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) precedential opinions on the topic, specific examples of state registration requirements and processes, and other information to aid in efficient maneuvering of the registration process.
See the full article here (pages 16-22):