Month: November 2018

Labeling CBD-Infused Foods: Part 2

Start from scratch to avoid infringement issues.

We previously discussed the need for manufacturers of CBD-infused foods and beverages (“Manufacturers”) to comply with the Food and Drug Administration labeling rules. However, such requirements are only one of many issues Manufacturers should worry about. Indeed, Manufacturers should also ensure: 1) that their name as well as their logo/design are not infringing on those of another; and 2) that they hold the right to the Trademarks they intend to display on their labels. This post provides a brief overview of the steps Manufacturers should take to shield themselves from infringement claims.

Trademark and/or Logo Infringement

As we explained before, trademarks are words, phrases, symbols or designs (i.e., logos) that identify the source of a product and help distinguish that product from that of competitors. The very best way to protect your trademark is to register it at the state or federal level.

Logos may also be protected under copyright law. Copyright law protects literary, musical, graphic, or other artistic forms in which an author expresses intellectual concepts. Thus, logos that are adequately original and ornate have a strong chance of being copyright protected, even without registration—though it is in the Manufacturer’s best interest to register its Logo with the U.S. Copyright Office, see why here.

Choosing branding that will not infringe the trademark and/or copyright rights of another is a critical step in developing a sound marketing strategy. Infringing will not only result in paying substantial damages to the pre-existing brand owner, it will also lead to massive rebranding costs: Think of all those printed labels a Manufacturer will need to throw away and the products they will need to pull off the shelves.

Therefore, before they start printing their labels (and ideally, before they start marketing altogether), Manufacturers should do their due diligence and conduct comprehensive searches with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the U.S. Copyright Office to ensure that no one has already registered a similar trademark and/or logo.

Ownership of Logo

Some Manufacturers whose labels we reviewed hired a graphic designer to develop their logo, yet, few entered into a written independent contractor agreement (“Agreement”).

This Agreement is a contract between two parties, in this case a Manufacturer and a graphic designer, for a specific service or project (i.e., the development of a logo). It clearly provides why the graphic designer was hired and stipulates that he or she is not an employee of the Manufacturer for legal and tax purposes.

In addition to requiring the graphic designer to carry insurance and to hold any mandatory professional licenses under state and federal laws, the Agreement states that the designer assigns his or her rights in the work product to the Manufacturer. In other words, the logo becomes the sole ownership of the Manufacturer even if its author is the graphic designer (under copyright law, the author of a creative work is automatically the owner of the work, absent any arrangement to the contrary).

Consequently, an Agreement will ensure that the Manufacturer has the right to freely use the logo, including entering into licensing agreements and relying on their logo as a valuable asset.

With the growing popularity of CBD-infused foods and beverages, Manufacturers are eager to enter the market and tend to rush through the marketing process, running the risk of incurring significant recall and rebranding costs. To avoid such financial burden, Manufacturers should consult with experienced CBD business attorneys who can review their product labels and ensured that their branding is indeed theirs to use.

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Marijuana and Marijuana Concentrates Become Legal in Michigan on December 6

The possession of marijuana and marijuana concentrates will become legal in Michigan next week on Thursday, December 6.

Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers certified the election results for Proposition 1 on Thursday, meaning that key provisions of the initiative will take effect 10 days after, on Decebember 6. Starting that day, those 21 and older in the state will be allowed to possess up to 2.5 grams of marijuana and up to 15 grams of marijuana concentrates. In addition, they will be allowed to grow up to 12 marijuana plants at a private residence.

The initiative also legalized marijuana stores, though they won’t be open for some time. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs now has up to 12 months to begin accepting applications from those seeking to operate legal marijuana businesses. Marijuana retail outlets are expected to open sometime in 2020.

When Michigan voters approved Proposition 1 earlier this month, they made their state the 10th to legalize recreational marijuana, following Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Nevada, California, Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont.

The post Marijuana and Marijuana Concentrates Become Legal in Michigan on December 6 appeared first on TheJointBlog.

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Alaska Credit Union Launches Program to Serve the Legal Marijuana Industry

By Lisa Bernard-Kuhn, Marijuana Business Daily

An Alaska credit union has joined the growing ranks of state-chartered financial institutions to announce plans to serve the legal cannabis industry.

Credit Union 1 – a 66-year-old, Anchorage-based business – announced Thursday it is kicking off a pilot program to provide financial services to the state’s approved marijuana-related businesses – otherwise dubbed MRBs.

“Since 2014, when marijuana was legalized in Alaska, the lack of financial services for MRBs has flooded local streets with cash, resulting in a community safety issue,” the credit union explained in a news release.

Only legally operating MRBs will be served, the credit union noted – adding that those firms’ accounts “will be under constant, comprehensive monitoring by our compliance team to ensure all aspects of their businesses stay legal.”“Credit Union 1 hopes to help relieve this is issue by providing financial services to MRBs.”

Earlier this week, Ohio-based Wright Patt Credit Union announced plans to offer limited financial services to licensed medical marijuana operators in the Buckeye State.

The post Alaska Credit Union Launches Program to Serve the Legal Marijuana Industry appeared first on TheJointBlog.

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