Monday, July 19, 2010

Can "chronic" be trademarked?

Posted By on Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 1:00 PM

Maui Wowie

At the beginning of last April, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office started accepting applications from those specifically looking to protect marijuana-related names, the Wall Street Journal reports today. Calling it, "Processed plant matter for medicinal purposes, namely medical marijuana," the trademark office saw requests from those like Scott Ridell at Colorado-based Panatella Brands to trademark "chronic," "Maui Wowie," Albino Rhino," and "Mellow Yellow," among others. The application is still in the middle of a 13-month review process.

Trademarking terms like Chronic would be "outrageous" because the names have been commonly used for decades, said [Steve] DeAngelo, the Oakland med-pot CEO.

The report says that the patent office received over 250 marijuana-related applications in the three months since the category's inception, but has since gone back to its pre-April 1 policy of accepting applications without listing a specific category.

The brief life of the pot-trademark category began after the patent office got email requests to create a classification for med-pot trademarks, the patent-office spokesman said. In response, agency staffers created the new category because, he said, some state laws allow medical marijuana. To be eligible for a trademark, a product must be legal for interstate trade, not violate international trade agreements and be in ongoing commercial use.

In recent days, said spokeswoman Jennifer Rankin Byrne in an email, "it has come to our attention that as a result of the state of the law regarding medical marijuana, there may be issues regarding whether trademark applicants with medical marijuana products and services can establish lawful use in interstate commerce."

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