Training Explores Cannabis Industry and Trademarks

Published: June 16, 2021

INTA’s Trademark Office Practices Committee and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) recently collaborated on an industry training for the Office’s examining attorneys and staff that focused on the latest trends within the burgeoning cannabis industry.

The cannabis industry has been on a path of exponential growth. However, this growth has sparked attention regarding federal laws, licensing, product packaging, consumption, and distribution.

At the virtual training, on April 22, cannabis industry experts offered tips and advice on navigating these issues. More than 400 government officials, examining attorneys, and brand owners were in attendance.

Speakers included Lara L. DeCaro (Leland Parachini, USA), founding board member, former executive officer, and current advisory board member of the International Cannabis Bar Association; Jessica Gonzalez (Bressler Amery & Ross, USA), general counsel for the national organization Minorities for Medical Marijuana; and Laury Lucien (Major Bloom, and GreenLight Business Solutions, USA).

INTA Trademark Office Practices USPTO Subcommittee Chair Scott Woldow (Smith, Gambrell & Russell, USA) moderated the panel. Trademark Office Practices USPTO Subcommittee member Lindsey Corbin (Delegate.Legal, USA) organized the event.

In her presentation, Ms. Gonzalez identified applicable federal laws and federal agencies, and discussed licensing matters and consumption issues related to cannabis. She also described the history of cannabis, the chemical compounds of cannabis, and how people are affected post-ingestion, as well as the ancillary services related to cannabis and their impact on the economy.

Ms. Lucien provided insights on key entrepreneurial considerations for the cannabis industry, such as the timeline of marijuana policy reform, ownership, licensing, permitted and prohibited advertising practices, and packaging. She also offered insight into the day-to-day activities of a cannabis industry entrepreneur.

Ms. DeCaro discussed the cannabis industry’s supply chain considerations, guiding attendees through the different types and phases of licensing for cultivation, manufacturing, testing, and dispensary. She also touched on the social equity aspect of the industry, from racial disparities in cannabis-related arrests to percentages of cannabis business owners based on race.

While the industry continues to evolve in the marketplace, brand owners can protect their brands by staking their claims through various techniques. The speakers’ analysis of the latest trends highlight issues that may affect the examination of trademark applications.

Industry trainings such as this one allows examiners to hear about common trademark challenges facing in-house counsel and trademark practitioners. The trainings also establish a direct line of communication between the examiners and attorneys practicing before the Trademark Office.

INTA’s Washington, D.C., Representative Office advocates the Association’s policy positions in Canada and the United States. To learn more about INTA’s activities in the region, please contact INTA Director of Government Relations Jennifer McDowell.

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of this article, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.

© 2021 International Trademark Association