Melissa Quéron June 6 2022 CBD trademarks: uncertain trend in France? MIIP MADE IN IP | Intellectual Property - France Melissa Quéron Intellectual Property How is CBD regulated in France?CBD trademarks in FranceIn France, the rise in popularity of cannabidiol (CBD) is relatively recent, unlike in some other European countries. In the past two years, many shops offering CBD and CBD-based products for sale have opened their doors in France, despite the regulation thereof still being uncertain.How is CBD regulated in France?In December 2021, a decree was issued in France that effectively banned the marketing of raw CBD flowers and leaves. Only hemp seeds and fibres as well as products derived from flowers and leaves are allowed. Traders in the CBD sector that were already marketing such products urgently challenged the ban, resulting in a provisional suspension by the Council of State. The judge hearing the application considered that were serious doubts about the legality of the measure because of its disproportionate nature. Traders in the sector are waiting for the Council of State to rule definitively on the legality of the contested order.CBD trademarks in FranceEven though some uncertainties remain regarding the marketing of CBD leaves and flowers, many brands are flourishing in the register of French brands. Brands should consider the relevant provisions of the Intellectual Property Code to ensure that their trademarks are admissible.Article L. 711-2(7) of the Intellectual Property Code provides that "a trademark contrary to public policy or the use of which is legally prohibited" may not be validly registered, and if registered, may be declared null and void. Trademarks inciting the consumption of illicit substances may thus be refused registration or, alternatively, declared null and void. It is therefore advisable to avoid referring to narcotic substances prohibited in France.According to French case law, trademarks referring to cannabis through text will be rejected. This includes, for example:CANNABIA;CANNABICURA; andMARRY JANE.In addition, the representation of the hemp leaf may be the subject of an objection by the National Institute of Intellectual Property. Indeed, according to the judges, this kind of sign is likely to give rise to the belief in the mind of the moderately wise consumer that the consumption of hemp as a psychotropic substance is no longer prohibited in France. Examples of rejected trademarks are shown in Figures 1 and 2.Figure 1Figure 2However, marks incorporating the representation of a stylised hemp leaf, accompanied by other elements, would be accepted.For further information on this topic please contact Melissa Quéron at INLEX IP Expertise by telephone (+33 1 56 59 70 90) or email ([email protected]). The INLEX IP Expertise website can be accessed at inlex.com.