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USPTO hashes out new guidelines for Hemp trademarks

Written by Laura Cannon- a Southampton Solent University student on 10 May 2019

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At the begining of this month the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issued guidelines on how it will handle trademarks for 'hemp' businesses, following the legislation of 'hemp' known as the 'Farm Bill', which was signed by Donald Trump in the US in December 2018. It has been stated that businesses will be able to apply for trademark registration as long as their goods and services fall outside the food and drug administrations (FDA) regulations for products containing cannabis-derived ingredients.

As a result of this new legislation hemp is legal as long as it contains no more than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive constituent of cannabis. The USPTO has also stated that goods containing hemp products before the bill was passed will be refused registration, unless the goods are potentially lawful and the applicants are open to examination which will then allow them to change the filing date to after the bill was passed. If applications have been made for goods containing cannabis on or after the 20th December 2018 it is likely that the application will be successful.

However the Farm Bill has explicity stated that the FDA still has the authority to regulate products containing cannabis and so any application made must specify that the goods contain less than 0.3% THC. This means that businesses registering trademarks for goods such as oils, lotions and soaps will be able to trademark their products, but anyone with a food or drinks related product will need to seek FDA approval.

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