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How to Trademark Your Cannabis Business in California

September 18, 2018


As of January 1, 2018, marijuana businesses in California are eligible to apply for state trademarks. Although not required by law, trademarks protect a business’ brand and positions it as the first and only business in its field to have a particular branding, including the business name, catchphrases, and logos. If you have not yet taken advantage of the new law in California and trademarked your business’ branding, you will want to do so as soon as possible in order to ensure your brand is protected. Contact an experienced Santa Monica or Los Angeles trademark law attorney at Verhagen Bennett for assistance in preparing and filing your business’ trademark application with the California Secretary of State today.


Federal vs. State Trademarks


Note that California cannabis businesses are only able to file California state trademarks at this time. Federal trademark applications require that the trademark or service mark is used in interstate commerce legally, and marijuana is not yet legal in all 50 states. Thus, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is still not accepting trademark applications from marijuana businesses.


California Trademark Requirements


In order to file a trademark or service mark for your marijuana business in California, your trademark or service mark must meet the following requirements:

  • The mark must be legally used in commerce in California, and

  • The mark fits into one of the classifications of goods and services provided by the USPTO.

Your marijuana business must be legally licensed under California Senate Bill No. 94, which addresses the standards for medicinal and adult use of cannabis. If it does not, then your trademark application will be rejected by the California Secretary of State. Additionally, you must also be using your trademark or service mark in your business, both before you file your trademark application and after, in order to maintain the validity of your trademark. You cannot trademark a name or phrase just for the sake of trademarking it, nor would you want to endure the long and formal process it takes to get there.


Do I Need to Have a Trademark?


Under common law, your branding is trademarked as long as you are using it regularly in commerce. There is no legal requirement that you trademark your brand with the USPTO or the California Secretary of State. However, by trademarking your branding, you have more ground to stand on when attempting to prevent or stop another business from using your same business name, catchphrase, or logo. Thus, trademarking your business at the state level now, and later at the federal level, is in the best interest of your business.


Contact a Santa Monica or Los Angeles Trademark Law Attorney Today


If you would like a more in-depth analysis of the requirements for trademarking your marijuana business in California, or if you would like a personalized review of your marijuana business, contact the experienced trademark law attorneys at Verhagen Bennett today. We have served numerous marijuana businesses in the Santa Monica and greater Los Angeles area and can advise you of your best options for protecting your intellectual property. Contact us at 310-917-1064 or visit our website today to find out how one of our trademark lawyers or business lawyers can help you.


(image courtesy of Sharon McCutcheon)


For questions or comments about this post, please email us directly at: info@VerhagenBennett.com


© 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.

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