The conflict between the decriminalization of marijuana operations in Washington and other states and the continued listing of marijuana as a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substance Act continues to create certain problems for licensed marijuana business operations.
One example is presented by the right to seek a federal trademark registration associated with a marijuana business. In a recent office action, the United States Patent and Trademark Office rejected a trademark registration for the mark “Flip Led” in association with “light emitting diode (LED) plant grow light.”
The provided examples of how the mark had been used included ads with marijuana leaves. The PTO noted that although “the word ‘marijuana’ is not specifically featured in the text, the image of marijuana leaves in the graphics tells consumers that such goods are primarily intended to help keep indoor marijuana gardens cost effective and secrete from prying eyes.” The registration was therefore rejected, because the PTO concluded that the goods and services as depicted were connected to an illegal activity under the Controlled Substance Act.
Based upon this action, it is appears unlikely that licensed marijuana operations in the state of Washington will be able to seek Federal trademark registrations.
For more information on this issue, please contact Mark Lee.