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Guest Blog: Protecting Cannabis Strains with Plant Patents

In this post, guest author Jeremy Kapteyn, Ph.D., from Rose Law Group, discusses using plant patents to protect new & distinct strains. Evoke Law has also written about protecting strains: “Branding a Cannabis Strain: Don’t Reinvent the Wheel” in mg Magazine’s April/May 2018 special branding issue. Cannabis breeders, cultivators and others developing cannabis genetic resources are almost invariably surprised... read more

Branding a Cannabis Strain: Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

Originally published in the April/May 2018 edition of mg Magazine.  Before you name a strain, you need to know the strain name and the brand name are not the same. A brand name or trademark does not communicate “what” the product is, but rather “who” is providing it, meaning, a trademark doesn’t tell you about a product, but instead... read more

Common Trademark Refusals

While there are many reasons why applications may be refused for registration by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), below is a summary of the most common issues raised by the Office: Identification of Goods/Services The most common rejection arises from the language used to describe an applicant’s goods and services. The USPTO requires a certain level... read more

Registering a “DBA” in California

Consider that when your company is conducting business under a name that is different from the entity name registered with the Secretary of State, this name is considered your “doing business as” name, or “DBA.” Because selecting a strong brand name takes time and effort, businesses may choose to form its formal business entity under one name, but ultimately... read more

Guest Blog: Opportunities in Canada: Intellectual Property Protections

By: Christopher N. Hunter, Partner, Norton Rose Fulbright  & Fahad Diwan, Articling Student, Norton Rose Fulbright The expected legalization of cannabis in Canada this summer presents unique opportunities for cannabis companies from Canada, the United States and abroad. Most importantly, cannabis companies can register trademarks in Canada that are expressly associated with cannabis. The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), the... read more

Importance of Trademark Clearance

“Trademark clearance” is a process that identifies whether others are already using an identical or confusingly similar mark in connection with the same or related goods or services, and assesses the level of risk associated with use, registration, and enforcement of a mark. Comprehensive clearance is not as simple as searching for an identical mark on the United States... read more

Guest Blog: Insurance Challenges for Cannabis Businesses

As the cannabis industry grows and business challenges proliferate, there are a variety of legal issues that are increasingly of interest to cannabis operators. Evoke Law specializes in trademark protection and brand licensing for the cannabis industry, and also offers a wide range of consumer protection legal services, including packaging and labeling compliance, recall plans, and counseling to avoid... read more

Brand Valuation

At its essence, a brand is what makes your company your company and includes the quality, functionality, pricing, and packaging, of your products and services, trademarks, logos, slogans, color schemes, as well as all associated communications, such as advertising, marketing, promotion, and your website. Properly cultivated, your brand is an intangible asset with tremendous value, based on established goodwill... read more

California Trademarks Division Accepting Applications for Cannabis Goods & Services

It was initially announced that licensed California cannabis companies may file service mark applications to register marks for licensed cannabis-related services beginning January 1, 2018. But, in an unexpected shift in position, this changed on January 12. As of January 12, 2018, the California Secretary of State’s Office now accepts trademark applications for cannabis products (in addition to service mark applications). A state... read more

Product Recall Plans for California Cannabis Manufacturers

Cannabis products are certainly not immune from a recall, as we have already seen in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. In most industries, state and/or federal law dictate product recall protocol. Since cannabis remains federally unlawful, neither the Food and Drug Administration or other federal agency has regulations specifically concerning cannabis recalls. For California manufacturers, the California Department of Health’s... read more

California Emergency Cannabis Regulations

What’s New? The California Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) along with the Departments of Public Health and Food & Agriculture issued emergency regulations to fully implement the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA) and provide guidance for California cannabis businesses heading into 2018. We have focused on the select regulations to generally determine how cannabis businesses... read more

Global Cannabis Marketplace

The United States is viewed as the land of opportunity, prosperity, and innovation. Americans take pride in the country’s historically progressive policies and contributions to advancements in medicine, technology, and science. However, when it comes to cannabis, the U.S. federal government is lagging behind the international marketplace. Over the past decade, individual states have made great progress in creating... read more

How to Deal with a Cease & Desist Letter

Receiving a cease and desist letter can evoke a flurry of emotions. Fear of litigation, defensiveness of your brand, concern for the future of your business, etc. But, taking a step back, it is important to understand what a cease and desist letter is, how it is used as a strategic enforcement tool, and what you should do if... read more

The Claim Game: FDA Monitoring & Challenging Health Claims for Cannabis Products

There is increasing recognition of the healing potential of cannabis. Even the FDA has approved two synthetic marijuana-based medicines for treatment of nausea in chemotherapy patients and to increase appetite in AIDS patients suffering extreme weight loss. However, since the FDA’s approval of new drugs relies on testing and clinical trials, the status of cannabis as a Schedule I... read more

Protecting Your Trade Secrets

By definition, a trade secret can be almost anything that has economic value and provides a competitive advantage. A well-known example of a well-kept trade secret is the Coca-Cola formula. Since 1891, founder Asa Candler maintained strict policies to keep and protect the formula from the public. Each state has its own laws for protecting trade secrets, but all... read more

Is CBD Federally Legal?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the primary cannabinoids naturally occurring in plants with the genus Cannabis sativa L. CBD is non-intoxicating and often used in products to combat pain, inflammation, and anxiety. Sales of products containing cannibidiol (CBD) continue to increase as consumers begin to recognize the health benefits CBD affords. While most cannabis products are sold through highly... read more

Summary of Pending California Cannabis Legislation

As the California state legislature is back from summer recess, it is an apt opportunity to provide an overview of the pending legislation relating to cannabis trademarks, advertisement, packaging, and labeling. Unsurprisingly, child protection from cannabis products is one of the major drivers in these proposed bills. Additionally, the legislature’s regulations are designed to promote consumer safety and prevent... read more

Proposed California Bill to Ban Cannabis-Branded Merchandise Under SB 162 (Update)

Updated to reflect the Assembly amendments made on July 20, 2017. (Revisions to this previously posted article are in bold or in red.) On June 27, California Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 94 into law effectively repealing MCRSA and AUMA, combining regulations governing medical and adult-use cannabis under the Medical and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation Safety Act (MAUCRSA)—that’s a mouthful.... read more

Famous Trademarks & Cannabis Branding

By definition, trademark infringement is the unauthorized use of a mark on goods or services in a manner that is likely to cause confusion, deception, or mistake as to the source of the products. However, all trademarks are not created equal and stronger marks enjoy a broader scope of protection. In fact, trademark owners of U.S. registrations for strong... read more

Copyright v. Trademark Protection for Logos

Copyright protection may provide an alternate path to protecting a logo or design mark. Unlike trademark law, copyright law does not extend to protection to a word or phrase, such as a business name, but rather, it covers original works of art, including logos, infographics, and designs. In order to qualify for copyright protection, a work must meet three... read more
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iplaw@evoke.law 415.398.3141