Patent Office Raises High Hopes, Then Snuffs Them Out
For three months until last week, marijuana dealers had something they could only dream of before: the apparent stamp of approval of a federal agency.
On April 1, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office created a new trademark category: “Processed plant matter for medicinal purposes, namely medical marijuana.” The patent office, part of the Department of Commerce, posted the new category on its website.
The patent-office change set off a land rush by pot dealers in the 14 states where laws permit medical-marijuana sales. Some staked claims on rights to long-used names like Maui Wowie and Chronic. Others applied to trademark business names such as Budtrader and Pot-N. Two companies applied to trademark psychoactive sodas named Keef Cola and Canna Cola.