California Trademark Protection for Marijuana Industry
In any business, the owner can trademark the name, logo and even images associated with their business with the United States government.
Every business, that is, expect the marijuana business.vThe federal government grants trademarks for businesses but the federal government still classifies marijuana as an illegal drug. That makes getting a trademark at the national level impossible.
However, lawmakers in California, which has been among those leading the way in the new era of legalized marijuana, have proposed a solution for businesses in the Golden State.
California Trademark Proposal
Businesses need trademarks to protect intellectual property, keeping other businesses from stealing names and logos associated with their product and using it on products of their own. The lack of trademark protection in the marijuana industry already has led a German pipe maker to sue companies in the United States for appropriating their name and placing it on other products.
Under current law, a secretary of state can provide trademark protection for businesses at the state level, but only if they already have a federal trademark.
“Not being able to trademark your brand is a huge setback if you’re trying to get capital investment,” Nate Bradley, a lobbyist for marijuana sellers, told non-profit journalism site Calmatters.com. “If you’re not able to protect what you’re asking people to invest in, you’re not likely to get investments.”
California lawmakers have introduced a bill that would provide that protection. Assembly Bill 64 expands provisions of the Model State Trademark law allow the state to grant trademarks to business that deal in “medical cannabis and nonmedical cannabis goods and services.” Assemblyman Rob Bonta, a Democrat representing the Oakland area, is lead author on the bill.