This week Jennifer was in Toronto, so for the first time in a few weeks the entire legal department was in the same place. We took advantage of this and focused on projects that could benefit from a team effort. We did the following:
Finalized Solium charts
Drafted waivers for the upcoming trial
Hired a new intern to perform proof reading tasks
Finished the agreement tracking system
Finalized legal templates for offer letters
We are working on finalizing the on-boarding documents for all new team members.
We are also having a continuing conversation about brand protection: Establishing a cannabis brand as a consistent source of relief, relaxation, or inspiration will result in repeat orders and word of mouth marketing that is worth its weight in gold. Currently, there are only a few recognizable brands in the cannabis market. Therefore, it is easy to understand why cannabis companies would seek to protect their brands in much the same way Coca-Cola or Pepsi protect their respective brands: by registering the brand name as a trademark. If only it were that simple! The problem is the USPTO refuses to grant federal trademark registrations to cannabis brands.
This prerequisite effectively prevents the registration of marijuana brands (whether medicinal or recreational in nature) because the U.S. Controlled Substances Act (CSA) classifies marijuana as a Schedule I illegal substance that is unlawful to buy, sell, or even possess. As such, a trademark applicant cannot show that the goods are lawfully used in commerce. Although marijuana’s classification under the CSA makes brand protection under trademark law particularly problematic and uncertain, it is not impossible for cannabis companies to protect their brands. It just takes some creative problem-solving
Last week and this week we have been focusing on creative problem-solving in this area and we are making great progress.
THINGS WE NEED HELP WITH
If you have past experience with trademarking brands of this nature, let us know. We have great ideas but we would love your input!