In general, trademarks can help strengthen a business and its brand, but when regulations prohibit the registration of certain trademarks, business owners need to get creative and think of alternative ways to strengthen that brand. As we discussed in a previous blog post on how to trademark your marijuana business, it is not yet possible to trademark your marijuana business with the federal government. However, that does not mean you should not start preparing your business for future trademark protection should federal cannabis laws change. The following are several effective marketing strategies you can implement in your marijuana business today to prepare for future federal trademark protection of your brand. If you would like to speak about these strategies in more detail or have any questions about trademarking your marijuana business, contact our Santa Monica trademark law attorneys today.
Choose a Unique Business Name
Just because you are not yet able to trademark your business name with the federal government does not mean you have to wait to start conducting trademark research. Make sure you select a business name that is not already taken or that is not too similar to a name that is already taken. The last thing you want to do is have to rebrand your entire business when the federal government opens up trademark protections to marijuana businesses because the business name you have chosen is already being used by another business. The same thing goes for your logos, catchphrases, product names, and any other part of your business that you may wish to trademark. If you are unsure of which aspects of your business you are able to trademark, contact our trademark lawyers so we can perform a customized evaluation of your business for you.
Use Your Marks
Did you know your trademarks are valid simply by virtue of their use in commerce? That is right, you do not need to register your trademark in order for it to be valid. As long as you are using your marks in commerce, you are able to add a ™ symbol after your mark and they are just as valid as a registered mark. Of course, registration affords you additional protections, so that is still the end goal, but in the meantime, make sure you are using your marks in commerce as much as you can so that when you are able to register your marijuana business with the federal government, it will be easy to show that your mark is indeed a real mark that is being used in commerce.
Expand Your Offerings
This is where you need to get creative. The federal government currently does not allow marijuana products to be trademarked, but you can still trademark your brand on t-shirts, vaporizers, or any other promotional product.
Expand Your Client Base
In order to obtain a federal trademark, your business must be operating across state lines. If your business only operates in California, you can just apply for a California state trademark and not worry about the federal trademark. Since it is currently illegal to transport or sell marijuana across state lines, you will again want to have ancillary products with your branding on it to sell in interstate commerce so that when the federal government opens up its trademark registrations to marijuana businesses, you can show that your trademark is already being used in interstate commerce.
These four strategies should give you some actionable ideas for how to start preparing your marijuana business for future federal trademark protection. If you have any questions about trademarking your Santa Monica or Los Angeles marijuana business, contact the trademark law attorneys at Verhagen Bennett today for your free consultation. We can be reached at 310-917-1064 or online.
(image courtesy of Justin Aikin)
(image courtesy of Sharon McCutcheon)
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© 2018 Verhagen Bennett LLP — This article is for general information only. The information presented should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.