Chareese "Queen" Haile, Esq.
Marijuana Businesses and Trademarks
Do you own a marijuana business and are seeking to trademark your brand? Have you been told that because you own a marijuana business, that you are unable to have a registered trademark? If so, continue reading below.
There are many types of marijuana businesses:
marijuana processors (harvest buds, isolates, distillates, oil, live resin, etc.)
marijuana delivery services
The Truth About U.S. Trademarks and Marijuana Businesses
Marijuana is federally illegal. The United States Patent and Trademark Office is a federal administrative agency, and thus must follow federal law when processing trademark applications for marijuana goods and services. Trademark applications for marijuana goods and products, containing delta-9 THC, such as: dry flower, oils, cannabis tinctures, live cannabis resin, cannabis isolates, and cannabis distillates will be denied due to the federal ban of marijuana. It is important to remember that federal law outweighs any state legalization of marijuana.
To the contrary, ancillary and non-plant touching marijuana businesses, may seek to apply for a United States Trademark for their marijuana related services. The services are not actual marijuana goods and products (which are federally illegal in the United States). Many plant touching marijuana businesses have ancillary services, goods, and products, and seek a United States Trademark for those legal services, goods, and products. The questions remains, "If I can only receive a United States Trademark for ancillary services, goods, and products, how can I fully protect my brand?"
If your application for a United States Federal Trademark was denied because marijuana is federally illegal, you have another legal option to protect your marijuana business: a State trademark.
The Benefits of State Trademarks for Marijuana Products
State trademarks are insanely valuable to plant touching marijuana business owners. Although marijuana is federally illegal, certain states have legalized the right to medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, or both. In the states where marijuana is legal, business owners and entrepreneurs can apply for a state trademark to protect their marijuana plants goods and products.
A state trademark is also known as a common law trademark. It is established in the geographic area where the mark is used in commerce, but the mark is not federally registered. It endures with continual, deliberate use and is shown by the superscript symbol "TM." State trademarks are registered with the Secretary of State. State trademarks are limited to the specific geographic area the intellectual property is used in and any areas where it could reasonably expand. The geographic area is usually not beyond the state.
This is amazing news for marijuana businesses! Marijuana businesses owners can seek to apply for a state trademark in the state or states that they are operating in. A state trademarks will protect the brand in that entire geographic location. Example: if you own and operate a marijuana dispensary in California, Oregon, and Colorado, then you can apply for a state trademark with the Secretary of State, in each of those states!
All is not lost when seeking to protect your marijuana and cannabis brand with trademarks! A state trademark can increase the value of your brand in the cannabis industry!
To learn more about the value of trademark for your marijuana business, please click the button below.