A trademark is a type of intellectual property consisting of a word, phrase, logo, sound, or smell that identifies the source of ownership of goods and/or services. Obtaining a federal trademark provides the trademark owner the exclusive right to use the trademark nationwide and allows the owner to pursue an infringement action against others for using an identical or confusingly similar mark. Obtaining a state trademark affords an owner a similar form of limited protection; however, the owner only has the exclusive right to use the trademark within the state she registers.
As the medical marijuana, hemp, and CBD industries are still relatively new, many cannabis business owners are unsure whether they qualify for trademark protection or not. The 2018 Farm Bill clarified the legal distinction of hemp from marijuana and the status of popular cannabinoids and derivatives, such as CBD. Accordingly, positive changes regarding hemp-based trademarks have taken place, which the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) outlined in an Examination Guide in May of 2019. Below, we outline the basics of trademarking with a focus on cannabis and hemp products at the federal and state level.
Trademarks are common as companies make efforts to stand out in competitive industries. However, in this pursuit of differentiation, some businesses may take inspiration from a competitor’s creative assets. These actions risk infringing on the trademark of the business that registered the concept with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Trademark infringement cases can be complicated, which is why companies should work with an experienced Texas trademark lawyer from Ritter Spencer PLLC. Read below to learn some of the basics of trademark infringement and what legal options are available to businesses with a registered trademark.
Attorney Chelsie Spencer was featured in Forbes this morning for her work as a hemp lawyer in the hemp, medical marijuana, and cannabidiol industries. To read the feature article, please click here to be taken to the Forbes website: Meet the Fearless Lawyer Saving the CBD Industry.