You’ve created a quality strain and given it a unique name. Or maybe you’ve crafted fantastic brownies using your Grandmother’s recipe and your pure cannabis oil, and you want to market them under a unique name.
Usually, you would trademark the names. But, the cannabis industry is anything but typical.
A federal trademark registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) gives your product the broadest protection. It keeps anyone else in the country, and potentially the world, from copying and selling your product under its registered name. But, registering a federal trademark requires that the mark is for “legal use” in commerce. The USPTO refuses to register marks for use on drugs that violate the Controlled Substances Act, including marijuana.
You could also register the trademark with the state of Maine. This would protect your product and its name within the state. Maine does not use the “legal use” language in its trademark laws, but it does say that the state will not register a trademark that “inappropriately promotes abusive or unlawful activity.”
This language creates a gray area in trademarking cannabis products in Maine.
There have been no Maine court cases testing the law that I can find. And, from what I can tell, few if any caregivers have tried to trademark their products in the state.
With recreational marijuana, trademarking will become an issue. As with everything else in this market, we’ll have to see how this one plays out in Maine.