For three months, ending last week, legalized marijuana dealers had something that they could have only dreamed of before, the apparent approval of the patent office reports the Wall Street Journal.
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.
But last week the patent office snuffed out the promise of federal recognition. On Tuesday, after questions about the new pot-trademark category from a Wall Street Journal reporter, a patent-office spokesman said the office planned to remove the new pot classification by week’s end, and the category is now off the website.
The spokesman, Peter Pappas, said the office’s lawyers were “aware” of the category weeks ago. “It raises examination issues,” Mr. Pappas said. “It was a mistake and we have removed it.”
One key issue: Selling pot is a federal crime, even though some states have laws allowing it.
Mr. Pappas said the office will go back to its pre-April policy of accepting pot-trademark applications without providing a specific pot category. But that’s back to square one: The office has never actually granted a pot trademark, the spokesman said, adding it’s “highly unlikely” that it would do so in the future.
Photo by Torben Bjørn Hansen