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Design patents may provide options for cannabis businesses

Once cannabis became legalized in Colorado, many entrepreneurs jumped into the industry and developed innovative products that appeal to a wide customer base. Intellectual property is arguably one of the most important assets held by any business, especially within an industry where products are commonly distinguished by creative ideas and applications. Cannabis businesses specifically will face obstacles when seeking protections through patents, trademarks and copyrights because marijuana is still illegal federally.

However, cannabis companies can still access intellectual property protections through alternative methods. For example, cannabis entrepreneurs may be granted protections for related products, merchandise and branding. Furthermore, cannabis companies can seek trademarks and copyrights for branded items and accessories that accompany their cannabis products such as clothing. Utility patents can be sought to protect certain types of innovative technologies. Design patents are another possibility that cannabis companies may explore to protect unique types of bongs, vapes, pipes, containers and other products that accompany direct cannabis sales.

Design patents, which protects innovative and ornamental aspects of a product, are distinguished based on the look rather than the use of the product. Cannabis entrepreneurs can benefit from design patents because it provides exclusivity in the use of any given design despite the fact that marijuana remains federally illegal. Furthermore, design patents are less expensive to maintain than utility patents, have a less complex application process, and are more regularly approved.

As the cannabis industry continues to expand, business owners may look for solutions to provide greater protection for their innovative ideas. Entrepreneurs may call the Wang IP Law Group for advice and representation in dealing with copyrights, trademarks, patents and other forms of intellectual property.

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Starting a new business can be a bit scary. Aside from worries of failure, there’s also the hassle of making sure all legal paperwork are properly filed. I reached out to Mr. Wang (Tommy) because of his excellent reviews and reputation and I am so glad I did. He was thorough and meticulous in answering all of my concerns and took time to find out special laws and policies regarding the kind of business I am starting. I could focus on the daily practical side of starting my new office without worry because I felt Tommy was reliable and took my case seriously. My business is opened and it’s all been a smooth start because of Tommy’s help. I have plans to start another business venture in the next few years and I already know I’ll be coming back to Wang IP Law.

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I came to Tommy for help reviewing a licensing agreement I had secured with a well-known manufacturer. Tommy made sure I understood all the details in the contract and he negotiated with the company to improve my side of the deal. I mentioned to Tommy at my first consultation that we were looking to expand throughout the US and were investing a lot of money to make a big entrance into the market. I did not think I would have my store open so soon but Tommy also has connections with the local area and realtors to help me secure the location for my first store in the Los Angeles area. Tommy works a lot with the local businesses and he understands how to transition from the Asian market to US market. Within 8 months my store was open for business and fully operating. I must recommend Tommy to any business owners looking for help with contracts and improving their side of the deal. Tommy has the knowledge and experience to make sure there is a smooth process to open for business here, and make sure that your company is set up for success.


I think Tommy and his team by far considered the best people to work with in my 16 business years. Beside quick responses to all my inquiries, they also done things right and providing very professional solutions. I’m highly recommending Tommy and his firm to all business owners.

Calvin C.

I have been working on my Utility Patent for almost 4 years. I have hired and fired two very reputable IP firms because with all their expertise and reputation for being some of the top firms in IP Law, I felt a lack of connection and care in my product, time and financial investment. Then I found Tommy and his team. Tommy does not waste time. He and his team are professional and extremely thorough. After 4 years, I finally found a legal team that I felt spent the time to really understand the components of my utility patent. Tommy also very mindful of cost and how and where my money would be better spent. I really feel I am in great hands with Tommy and his team. They have been patient with my revisions. And most importantly, they made me feel that they fully understood the importance this patent is to me. It has been a great and comforting pleasure working with Tommy.


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