Intellectual property has and always will be of vital importance to a business. One of the ways that a business can protect their intellectual property is through registering their mark federally through the United States and Patent Office (“USPTO”).
Traditionally, cannabis companies have not been able to partake in the federal trademark registration process, leaving these companies with the only option for protection at the State Level. This has forced cannabis companies to be creative with their efforts to protect their intellectual property at the federal level. For example, since a cannabis company cannot register their trademark (logo or a word mark) with the USPTO, they would register a T-shirt or other “swag” items that had their mark on it.
With recent changes in legislation, however, there is now a new way cannabis companies can protect their intellectual property.
Since the legalization of hemp in the U.S. through the 2018 Farm Bill, Cannabis companies can now register a mark in connection with hemp products. Though this may be a small segment of the industry, it gives cannabis companies a chance to get a head start in the USPTO registration process.
If cannabis companies are manufacturing hemp oils, along with CBD oil, then they have the ability to register with the USPTO for all hemp products.
If cannabis companies register their hemp products now, when marijuana becomes legalized federally the USPTO class of goods will likely be the same. Since a trademark applies to an entire class of goods, cannabis products that fall into a class that a company previously registered will also receive those protections.
If and when marijuana becomes legal, there will be a flood of new applications at the USPTO.
A marijuana company that already has a registered mark with the USPTO involving hemp goods will no doubt have a head start when the USPTO floods with new applications. They will already have a presence in the market, evidence of use, and the USPTO will be familiar with their goods. This head start may also be the inclusion of marijuana under the class of goods in which their trademark is already registered.
This is a big win for cannabis companies.
If you are ready to register your mark for hemp products get in touch with Halverson Law PLLC today for a free consultation. Halverson Law specializes in Business Law and provides expertise in Intellectual Property, Trademark, Marijuana Law, Mediation, and Personal Injury.
Alisha Myers is an intellectual property and trial attorney with a passion for helping small businesses start and flourish in their community.