Companies that make cannabis-infused products should be allowed to trademark their products since the federal government itself owns a patent for medical treatment using cannabinoids, a lawyer argued at a marijuana-focused legal conference.
David Branfman, an intellectual property attorney from California, said the discrepancy in trademarking cannabis is “ripe for litigation.” He said he is waiting for “the right client to step up and say, ‘I’m the pioneer.'”
Branfman spoke at a conference hosted by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Aspen, Colorado.
Branfman’s advice for companies dealing with intellectual property issues is to register trademarks for clothing, logos, website information and other legal products. He said these trademarked products will serve as leverage should the U.S. Trademark Office reverse its policy on cannabis.
The trademark agency briefly created a new category for medical marijuana in 2010. That decision, however, was quickly reversed.
The U.S. health department currently holds a patent for “cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants.” It was first filed in 1999.
According to the patent’s language, “cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.”