In recent years, the cannabis industry has skyrocketed in North America. As with any emerging industry, brand protection is essential to stand out and establish customer goodwill. The passage of the 2018 Farm Bill Act – the bill that federally legalized the production and sale of hemp and hemp-derived CBD products – has opened the door to many avenues of protection of cannabis companies. Brand identifiers for most hemp and hemp-derived CBD products are now eligible for registration with the USPTO. Federal trademark protection may also be available for “non-plant-touching” businesses in the cannabis industry as well as for products that don’t involve the controlled substances act (such as apparel, lighters, rolling papers, and vaporizers).
In sum, there is usually a path available for achieving some federal trademark protection for brands in the cannabis industry. In such an evolving space, some trademark protection is certainly better than no protection at all. There is also the possibility that cannabis will be federally legalized in the (near) future. Getting a head start by establishing your brand in the marketplace now will have you well positioned for more protection in the future if and when the law changes.
Feel free to contact Alex if you want to discuss the post or have any questions about federal trademark protection for cannabis brands.