Gastonia, NC asked in Trademark for North Carolina

Q: What trademark classes do you recommend I register for my brand/trademark.

I want protection from others using it for any business. It's a name that will be focused on the marijuana industry with it's logo and brand on products such as clothing, glass, and other products and also online services.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Michael Gerity
Michael Gerity
  • Trademarks Lawyer
  • Phoenix, AZ

A: With trademarks, the association between your mark and a PARTICULAR type of goods and/or services is a critical element. As such, you have to pick which particular goods and/or services you are going to use the mark with, and then actually use the mark in conjunction with the offering or sale of those goods and/or services. With the examples you provide, you would need to actually start using your mark with the sale of clothing, glass and other products, and then register your mark with the appropriate class as you begin to use the mark with each type of goods. The only exception to this is with an intent to use application, where you can register a mark before you actually start using it with the particular goods and/or services you intend to eventually use it with, but even then, you have a time limit under which you need to start actually using the mark with those goods and/or services.

Once a mark is established, you cannot keep others from using it for "any" business. You can only prevent others from using the same or similar mark with types of goods or services that would be confusingly similar to the ones you offer with your mark. Multiple marks that are the same or nearly the same are allowed to coexist in the market so long as there is no reasonable likelihood of confusion.

Finally, as of today, the federal gov't still classifies marijuana as illegal, and therefore the US Patent and Trademark office currently refuses to allow the registration of marijuana related marks, at least where the connection to marijuana is clear. Most folks either register the mark with similar, non-marijuana products, and then offer the marijuana products under the same brand, or they go with registration at the state level, on a state by state basis.

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