On May 2, 2019, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (the “USPTO”) issued new guidelines with respect to the examination of trademarks for cannabis and cannabis-related goods and services (the “New Guidelines”) following the recent signing into law of the 2018 Farm Bill. According to the New Guidelines, trademarks filed after December 20, 2018, for certain cannabis-related goods will be accepted for registration.
Until now, the USPTO has refused registration of trademarks for goods encompassing CBD or other extracts of marijuana, or for services involving cannabis-related activities, because such goods and services were unlawful under federal law.
The USPTO will now accept applications filed on or after December 20, 2018, for cannabis-related goods or for services involving cannabis-related activities, as long as the specification states that the cannabis or CBD contains less than 0.3% THC on a dry-weight basis; "trademarks for foods, beverages, dietary supplements, or pet treats containing CBD will still be refused as unlawful under the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA), even if they contain less than 0.3% THC on a dry-weight basis, as such goods may not be introduced lawfully into interstate commerce".
Applications filed before December 20, 2018, may be amended to comply with the New Guidelines such that the filing date will be December 20, 2018; the filing basis of the application will be intent-to-use (if applicable); and the specification will state that the goods contain less than 0.3% THC on a dry-weight basis.