For any business to be successful it must constantly strive to maximize diverse revenue generating streams while minimizing the costs of doing do. For most businesses, the development and monetization of an intellectual property portfolio that encompasses patents, trademarks, copyright, brands, goodwill, and trade secrets is an extremely profitable source of passive income that far exceeds the costs of administering and enforcing the portfolio. However, for the elite subset of cannabusinesses seeking to form and monetize their intellectual property portfolios there are unique limitations, trials, and tribulations in doing so that need to be considered as the cannabusiness pursues intellectual property generation and protection.
Not All Cannabusinesses Are Equal in the Eyes of The Law
At the outset, not all cannabusinesses are equal in the eyes of the law. Some cannabusiness are more equal than the others. U.S. law recognizes these differences by further classifying cannabis into two areas of legal review: marijuana vs. hemp and regulates them differently. Marijuana is illegal under federal law whereas hemp is not; therefore, hemp is entitled to federal intellectual property protection and marijuana is not. Seems simple but as with most legal schemes there are always exceptions and exemptions and for cannabis products and services that remain true; particularly as applied to U.S. intellectual property law. Under U.S. Federal and State law there are unique limitations and qualifiers that need to be considered as a cannabusiness pursues intellectual property registrations and protection that apply to the specific form of intellectual property the cannabusiness seeks to protect.
Written By Craig Small, Senior Attorney at Hoban Law Group