Cannabis Trademarks

What are cannabis trademarks?

Cannabis trademarks let creative lawyers help protect their clients’ brands that are involved with the cannabis plant with enough THC to count as marijuana under federal law. 

In this blog post we will briefly touch on what trademarks are and how you can protect your cannabis brand. Please contact us if you have any questions and we can help. 

What do Trademarks Protect?Cannabis trademarks

  • Your brand’s name to prevent confusion by competitors
  • Rights in exclusive use of the mark for naming rights
  • Customer loyalty and goodwill
  • General intangibles on your balance sheet that is worth money
  • Any infringement of your trademark means you can sue in court

Can a cannabis company get a trademark from the USPTO?

To be able to obtain a trademark from the federal government, your brand needs to be engaged in lawful business, which means any marijuana business cannot obtain federal protection.

However, that cannabis brand is probably organized for “any lawful and legitimate business.” This means their brand extends beyond the unlawful cannabis industry and may qualify them for protection under federal trademark laws.  

How can a cannabis company get a federal trademark?

Many cannabis brands have been granted federal trademark protection – just NOT for the marijuana element of their business.

This loophole for trademarks used in lawful business has provided many chances for brands to launch ancillary products like blogs, apparel, and of course, hemp.  

Can you get a federal Trademark for Delta-8 THC Hemp?

Hemp, even Delta-8 THC from hemp, have been granted trademark protection from the federal government. 

In 2022, the 9th District Court of Appeals recognized trademark protections granted by the USPTO that another hemp company challenged as being invalid by reason of illegality.

What categories of Trademarks can a cannabis business get

The cannabis industry is brand heavy with thousands of brands each in their own state. And as those brands expand from state to state, the trademark may not be able to be ready for national protection. 

he more unique your trademark, the stronger it is. When a mark is very distinctive, it is hard to challenge.

Here are the major categories of trademarks:

  • Fanciful 
  • Arbitrary 
  • Suggestive

Descriptive and Generic are the weakest types

  • Descriptive 
  • Generic 

trademark categoriesHow to plan for your cannabis business trademark

Careful planning can help prepare to have protection for your cannabis brand’s trademarks that it uses for other legitimate business purposes. 

However, some brands have trademarks for their hemp products, or their smokable flower products, basically anything that has their brand on it but does not deal in the marijuana (as defined under federal law) aspect of their business.

For additional help on finding the right trademark for your company. Consult a qualified cannabis trademark attorney and a brand consultant for more information and advice.  We have both and are ready to help you get your brand protected. 

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Illinois Hemp Lawyer Thomas Howard

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