This may be a stretch of the imagination, but marijuana may get a trademark. Stranger things could happen in the world of trademark law.
This is an interesting story and one that may cause a chuckle or two, but, in the long run, may make its mark on the U.S. as a first. Some enterprising pot growers tried trademark their crop recently and were almost successful. The trademark application was actually for something called Tartukan death weed. Sounds attractive, right? Like someone would want to go right out any buy it and give it a whirl.
This application was almost successful for one major reason – on April 1,2010 (not an auspicious day to do this, given it is April Fool’s Day) the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office started offering a new category for medical marijuana trademarks. The category wasn’t open long, but it was definitely no joke, despite the hilarity the Tartukan trademark application engendered. Said the trademark gurus; “We noticed that since the state law dealing with medical marijuana was introduced, there may be questions, etc. about whether or not trademark applications for this could establish lawful use relating to interstate commerce.”
Interstate commerce? As in taking medical marijuana across state lines? It’s a delicate subject. Nonetheless, despite various reservations and concerns about trade marking medical marijuana and any services related to it, this has not stopped Oakland’s Harborside Health Center from making their company name a trademark and also striving to trademark their logo.
Trademarking a health center is one thing; trademarking a specific brand of pot isn’t a good idea, because brands of pot aren’t reliable enough to trademark. Their quality, origin, reliability and potency, among other things, tends to go up in smoke, and there is no surefire scientific method to confirm a certain patch is a certain strain.
Well, the long and short of this story is that if other scientists can patent genes that alter the food we eat, maybe marijuana growers should chase down that avenue and ask about patenting plant hybrids instead.