Cannabis Branding, Patents and Trademarks, Oh My!
There’s a lot to think about entering into any new business enterprise. Factor cannabis into the mix, and your entrepreneurial load multiples three-fold. Every angle of bringing a new product to market requires intense scrutiny to ensure that product is competitive in its space.
Creating the right brand for your cannabusiness is crucial to that process. In a market brimming with start-ups and changing technology, many of the highest quality companies will still fail to thrive without a recognizable name and logo.
Oliver Herzfeld and Jared Mermelstein of Forbes point out that strong and early cannabis branding includes creating recognition, loyalty, awareness, credibility, and quality and value of your brand. While the reasoning is sound for why one should create a brand, the how is much trickier. The greatest current obstacle to creating a successful cannabis brand is, of course, federal prohibition. Until politicians catch up at the national level, business owners have a limited ability to legally protect their intellectual property.
So what can be done in the meantime?
First, do your best to secure naming rights but make sure you are not infringing on intellectual property that already exists or can cause confusion. The CannaLaw Group suggests there are three ways to best secure your brand while still operating in a pre-legal country:
1. By using the mark in connection with their goods or services (legally) in commerce;
2. By registering the mark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO); and
3. By registering the mark with an appropriate state trademark registry.
Second, entrepreneurs must remember that business cannot be separated from politics. Engage in local, state and federal advocacy efforts. Join organizations such as the National Cannabis Industry Association, working to end federal prohibition and advance cannabis business interests on Capitol Hill.
Finally, educate yourself with the most current developments in this rapidly-changing industry. Come be part of the International Cannabis Business Conference this December 1st-3rd in Kauai, Hawaii! Get your tickets now to hear the always-stellar list of experts covering cannabis branding and intellectual property, along with numerous other timely topics for the ganjapreneur.