Although the United States government has held the patent on cannabinoids since 2003, they will not provide cannabusinesses with the same legal protection. Uncle Sam’s hypocritical mindset towards intellectual property in relation to the marijuana industry was a topic of major discussion last week at NORML’s 2014 Legal Seminar in Aspen, Colorado.
Some of the leading attorneys in America gathered at The Gant last Friday to discuss the issue of trademarking cannabis-related products. During the event, California intellectual property attorney David Branfman spoke out about how America, the two-faced nation, is poised to earn a king’s fortune with their patent on cannabinoids, yet they will not allow today’s marijuana marketers to protect their ideas and products by obtaining patents or trademarks.
“The United States Patent and Trademarking Office, in its infinite wisdom, will not issue a trademark for anything that has to do with cannabis-infused products,” said Branfman, driving home the backhanded detail that while cannabinoids are property of the United States government, they remain classified by their agencies a Schedule I dangerous substance with no medicinal benefit.
Using several fast food chains as an example, Branfman argued that consumers need to feel comfortable with their product purchases and that they come to expect a certain level of quality from the companies that sell them, a concept he says is virtually impossible to accomplish inside the anarchy of the current pot market. “The public needs to know, when it goes into a dispensary and it buys something, they need to know that they’re getting something that’s the same as what they could buy in another dispensary, another city or another state,” he said.
Unfortunately, if a cannabis company, like Dixie Elixirs & Edibles, believes their competition has stolen their idea, there is no real legal recourse that can be taken because trademark enforcement for the marijuana industry remains against federal law, he added.
However, in an effort to gain an advantage with the Trademark Office’s inevitable policy change towards the legal marijuana trade, Branfman suggests cannabusinesses get a head start by registering their company’s promotional products, like shirts, logos and websites.
Mike Adams writes for stoners and smut enthusiasts in HIGH TIMES, Playboy’s The Smoking Jacket and Hustler Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter @adamssoup and on Facebook/mikeadams73.