Trademark or intellectual property is an essential aspect of any type of business. It can be used to protect your business by creating a unique product, patent it, apply for a trademark to use it against anyone who tries to copy your product. Trademark helps you create a unique product and prevent others from taking advantage of competition. The cannabis industry is filled with unique products that offer many medical and recreational benefits. It is ripe with profit potential; hence understanding intellectual property protection for your weed business is very important.
In this article, learn how intellectual property protection is within the cannabis industry, why it can be very difficult to achieve, and how it can be assumed.
Understanding Intellectual Property Protection in the Cannabis Industry
The US has opened up about accepting cannabis and its many different products. It has paved the way for legalization, including the medical and recreational use of weed. However, it is still one of the most regulated substances in the market today. No one can register for intellectual property in the US for cannabis, including intent to cultivate, manufacture, and dispense the product. However, there is still hope for hemp-based products and services, as it is largely an exemption to the rule.
Intellectual property or IP is essential within the cannabis industry as many want to create their products. IP is very important in creating a true definition of your product. This allows you to be different from everyone else, and if anyone tries to copy your product, you can file a case against them to stop them from taking advantage of your product.
Intellectual property within the cannabis industry is still in its early stages. With federal laws stacked against the weed industry, it can be very difficult for many business owners to create their trademark. The fact that cannabis is still listed as a Schedule I drug, much like heroin and LSD, is still an issue for many. Within the federal law, any goods or products must be lawful, and that takes cannabis out of the game by default.
As stated above, hemp products are mostly considered an exemption. This is the reason why you can see hemp products popping out of the market today. Any hemp product that contains less than 0.3 percent THC on dry weight is acceptable for federal trademark registration. With that, hemp products are a clear warzone for many business owners.
Since states have different laws regarding cannabis, filing for a trademark in one state can be challenging as you might encounter having the same brand name on another state. This is the reason why applying for a nationwide license is very difficult.
How To Achieve Intellectual Property Protection
Although many cannabis products and services are out of contention for federal trademark registration, there are still a few leeways that will let you be eligible for registration.
- Any service that provides information that is related to cannabis products and services. This includes online information that is shared or featured through journals and blogs, as well as any news portal that provides current news and information, as well as commentary, are allowed.
- Any clothing that heavily features a cannabis trademark is allowed. This includes shirts, hats, and coats that have weed in them is legal.
- An internet outlet that provides information about medical cannabis, CBD, and its health and therapeutic value can also be considered legal.
Business owners can file for intellectual property protection through trademark registration with this option. This will allow brand owners to expand later on in the future and cover the same trademark for other related goods and services that are currently unlawful during the application date. If at any time that these certain products and services become lawful, they are also covered by the same intellectual property protection.
The reason behind this is it preserves the current legal products and services for future trademark rights. For example, a CBD infused food product secures intellectual property protection since it is legal. It can then be arguably used in the future for other “related” goods and services that come from the same source later on that are currently illegal for trademark registration due to what is called source confusion.
This is another reason why weed business owners are scrambling to achieve intellectual property protection for most of their cannabis products. It pays to protect your assets for any future opportunities and growth for your business.
One alternative yet ideal way of circumventing the regulations surrounding cannabis products and services is by bundling cannabis products with peripheral non-cannabis products. Any business that manufactures and sells cannabis-related and non-cannabis products may be able to register a trademark that is associated with the non-cannabis products. A good example of this is when a company that makes a beauty product that has both cannabis and non-cannabis version can be bundled up to register for a trademark.
In states with legalized cannabis, filing for a state trademark and common law trademark rights are made available. Some entrepreneurs might even take a huge gamble in relocating to states that have legalized cannabis just to make sure that they have the best intellectual property protection.
All of these can be achieved if you are willing to hire consultants and lawyers who have a better understanding of the regulations surrounding the cannabis industry. Risk managers are also a great option to achieve intellectual property protection and help you understand the process correctly. Always exercise caution when it comes to legal matters.
Achieving and understanding intellectual property protection for your weed business is highly complicated. It is always best to find a team of experts when dealing with these issues. Of course, the idea resolution is for the federal government to open up and legalize cannabis. This would immediately allow trademark rights and eliminate most of the complicated matters that surround the industry. For now, it is always best to use caution when handling legal matters and leave it all to the experts.