Are you looking to protect your marijuana brand?
Are you looking to register a cannabis trademark in California?
As of January 1, 2018, marijuana brands CAN register their trademarks with the USPTO in California.
That’s huge news!
Being able to register your marijuana trademark will let you defend your brand and assert trademark rights under California trademark law.
This means that your legal recreational marijuana business can hit the ground running with marketing and branding without worrying about legal repercussions.
It’s important to file your trademark registration for weed as soon as possible.
When disputes come up and copycats try and make similar trademarks, the date of filing is the key factor in defending your brand.
On this page, I will tell you everything you need to know about registering your trademark for marijuana, weed, cannabis, in a few easy steps.
If you’re looking to trademark your marijuana brand, book your free call with a Trademark Strategy Advisor here.
Is Marijuana Legal In Your State?
If marijuana isn’t legal in your state, you should hold off on trademarking your cannabis brand and business.
While California entrepreneurs can file trademarks with the USPTO, states where marijuana is illegal will have to wait. It is NOT a good idea to file a trademark under false pretenses so you have claim to the name.
If you don’t live in California, you can still try and protect the weed trademark you want by registering the website. Other cannabis entrepreneurs will Google search to be sure they can use a name in their URL, and if that name is taken you are much less likely to have it stolen out from under you.
If your state does let you register trademarks for marijuana, it’s time to start planning for your business long term.
Do You Have An LLC Set Up?
If you’re starting a cannabis business you need to set up an LLC.
Legal protection and tax advantages.
The most important thing an LLC does is put up a shield between your personal assets and your business assets.
This means that if a disgruntled customer decides to sue you, they can only go after your LLC’s assets. Having an LLC means you won’t lose everything you own to a lawsuit.
The other important thing an LLC does for you is give you great tax breaks. You’re entering a booming industry and are going to earn a lot of money.
When you act as a solo entrepreneur, you’re subject to what’s called ‘pass through taxation.’ You have to pay the 15.3% income tax on everything you’ve earned.
However having an LLC means you only have to pay that 15.3% income tax on the salary your LLC pays you. This means that if your business earned $100,000.00 you can pay yourself a $30,000.00 salary. Instead of paying $15,300.00 in taxes on $100,000.00 you only pay $4,590.00 on the $30,000.00 of taxes. Having an LLC would save you over $10,000.00 in just that one year.
Decide On a Trademark For Cannabis Name
Your weed trademarked name represents your business to customers.
Your business name gives your customers the first impression of what your cannabis business is about. A good name will set you apart from the crowd and make the customers come rolling in.
The name also has to meet legal requirements, such as being distinctive. For example “California Weed’ is too generic, but “California Couture Cannabis” would probably pass.
A name is considered distinctive when it has been made up by you and it completely original.
Choosing a name can be difficult! Don’t be afraid to write down lists of every name that comes to mind until you find one that you like. Of course, it’s important to check that name is actually available.
Check The Name Is Available
No matter how good your name is, it must be available for you to use it as a trademark.
The most important place to check if your marijuana trademark name is available is in the TESS database.
It would be a good idea to search your trademark in state databases, on Google, and in business directories to be sure your cannabis trademark isn’t taken.
Even if your trademark for cannabis isn’t trademarked with the USPTO, if another similar company has been using that name for years you might run into issues with state or common law trademark protection.
It’s better to be safe and register a name that hasn’t been used anywhere before with the USPTO.
File a Trademark For Weed Application With The USPTO
The link for the USPTO trademark application can be found here, and it costs between $275 and $375 to file a trademark application. You will need to provide the following information:
- Name and address of the trademark’s owner
- The trademarked name to protect
- The services/goods for which you wish to register the name (weed)
- The basis for your filing (for use or intent to use in commerce)
- If you are already using the name in commerce, something like a label that shows you are using the name. If you file based on an intent to lose you will handle this part at a later time.
It is possible to register your trademark at the state level, but I highly recommend getting federal trademark protection so that your cannabis brand is fully protected.
You should hear back within three months on whether your trademark application has been accepted or rejected.
If you need help registering your trademark, book a call with a Trademark Strategy Advisor here.
Set Up A Google Alert For Your Trademark For Marijuana
Having a Google alert for your marijuana trademark will help you respond to issues immediately.
If someone else is using your trademarked cannabis business name, having a Google alert means you will find out right away and not months down the line. The sooner you send a cease and desist letter, the less damage a copycat can do to your marijuana brand.
Respond To All Issues From The USPTO Immediately
If any issues come up from the USPTO, you need to respond in a timely manner to keep your marijuana business alive.
A delay could mean losing your trademark for marijuana and watching your cannabis entrepreneur dreams die.
What do you do if you don’t know how to respond to the USPTO, or have questions about trademarking your marijuana brand?
Trademarking a marijuana brand in California is challenging and complicated.
Between setting up your business, deciding on a name, and cutting through the legal red tape setting up your marijuana trademark and business on your own can be challenging.
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