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.