Cannabis distribution is just like any other business: You need to protect your brand and its integrity. If a competitor uses your brand name without your consent, your customer base may be stolen from you, your reputation could suffer, and the integrity of your business may founder. U.S. copyright law is intended to protect brands from being misappropriated by unscrupulous competitors. If you are building or maintaining a cannabis business, it is important that you take all steps necessary to protect and police your interest in your copyrights, to set your brand apart from others and develop your customer base. Continue reading to learn about establishing and protecting your cannabis copyright in California, and contact a knowledgeable cannabis business lawyer for help with your marijuana business.
Registering and enforcing a cannabis brand
According to federal law, copyright protection exists “in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.” Copyright protects a particular expression, rather than the underlying idea. Copyright law allows you to obtain protection for your company’s logo, your product packaging, photos and expressive text on websites and promotional materials, and potentially your company’s name, as well as a variety of other artistic materials. (It does not let you protect the underlying ideas–for example, it would not prevent other businesses from also distributing cannabis.)
Copyright owners can register their works with the federal government and receive expanded enforcement rights. If someone violates your registered copyright by appropriating your protected works, you can file a lawsuit for copyright infringement. You can sue to stop them from using your brand, your images, or other artistic works, and you can seek statutory damages. Contact a cannabis business lawyer for help enforcing your copyright protection.
Note that while cannabis distribution is legal in California, it is still prohibited under federal law. Thankfully, for copyright purposes, this does not matter. Copyright protection extends to protected works regardless of whether the work itself is illegal or is used for an illegal purpose.
A qualified and experienced cannabis business lawyer can help you protect your cannabis brand by evaluating your creative materials to determine what copyrights you own, apply for registration of any distinct and protectable works, and enforce your copyright protection by bringing legal action against anyone who violates your registered copyright.
Reach Out to a Cannabis Business Lawyer
If you are interested in setting up a marijuana business or are dealing with copyright, licensing, or other issues with your cannabis business in Los Angeles or Southern California, call McReynolds Vardanyan, LLP in Glendale at 818-855-2115. Our California cannabis business lawyers will work with you to get your budding business off the ground efficiently, effectively, and legally.