Cannabis Patents & Trademarks Present Legal Quandry
July 7th, 2015
Policy, Top News
The newly minted cannabis industry may be the Wild Wild West in many ways, but lawyers are hoping to change the game by fencing off intellectual property. A growing number of cannabis companies are interested in bolstering their intellectual property portfolios with a combination of trademarks and patents, but it’s unclear what’s allowed and what’s not given the drug’s legal status on a federal level, where it remains a Schedule I Controlled Substance.
Federal trademark registration of cannabis is not possible, since trademarks require the lawful use of the mark in commerce and the registration can’t be “immoral, deceptive, or scandalous” by law. In fact, the USPTO has made it crystal clear that it will not process trademarks on cannabis brands. The good news is that companies can still pursue state-level trademarks in states where marijuana has been legalized either recreationally or medically.
The USPTO will, however, grant 20-year plant patents to those who invent or discover and asexually reproduce a distinct and new variety of plant, which means that the organization is certainly able to grant patents for cannabis strains. While there are already a number of marijuana patent applications that have already been filed, they remain in the pre-grant phase and haven’t been officially issued, meaning they aren’t enforceable.
When it comes to practicality, these laws enable companies to protect the genetics of their products from copycats, but does not allow them to brand the products on a national level, which could make enforceability quite difficult. Companies are still hoping, however, that they can secure widespread patent portfolios covering the plant in order to position their businesses well moving forward over the next 20 years – especially as legalization seems more likely.
This article was published by CFN Enterprises Inc. (OTCQB: CNFN), owner and operator of CFN Media, the industry’s leading agency and digital financial media network dedicated to the burgeoning CBD and legal cannabis industries. Call +1 (833) 420-CNFN for more information.
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