Alison Malsbury

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Every brand needs protection, and Alison extends her knowledge of intellectual property and corporate law to our cannabis clients, ensuring their businesses are protected.

Latest Articles

An interesting Bloomberg article came across my desk a couple weeks ago called, “CBD Craze is Creating a Trademark Problem for a Coffee Brand in Maine.” The article raises a couple of important issues related to the trademark requirement of distinctiveness, as well as the lengths to which one can stretch their trademark protection. The article recounts a coffee shop and wholesale coffee company in Maine called Coffee by Design, that ultimately adopted…
We’ve been saying for the last year that as California’s legal marijuana program continues to roll out, the state’s enforcement against illegal operators will continue to ramp up. During his state of the state address on February 12, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the National Guard will be utilized to eliminate unlicensed cannabis farms. On February 11th, Gov. Newsom signed General Order 2019-01 that will redeploy 360 National Guard troops from the U.S.-Mexico…
As ardent followers of this blog are well aware, one of my favorite pastimes is keeping tabs on who is suing whom in the cannabis industry for trademark infringement. These lawsuits serve as great examples for my clients of what NOT to do when choosing a brand for their company. The last couple of years have provided a couple of big-name cannabis trademark lawsuits, including the Gorilla Glue dispute and the Tapatio Foods lawsuit.…
State trademarks for cannabis goods and services have been an ongoing saga in California that we have written about extensively. For a little background, until January 1, 2018, obtaining state trademark protection in California was not possible due to Sections 14270-14272 of the Model State Trademark Law of the California Business and Professions Code, which are simply titled “Miscellaneous.” Section 14272 states the following: The intent of this chapter is to provide a system…
With Canada’s new trademark law set to take effect on June 17, 2019, U.S. cannabis companies should be considering whether it makes sense for them to file for trademark protection in Canada. Most significantly for foreign applicants, a Declaration of Use will no longer be required, meaning that you do not need to actually use your mark in Canada in order to qualify for trademark protection. This is in contrast to the United States, where…
With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill and the proliferation of food products containing CBD, we’ve been writing extensively about how the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and in particular, the United States Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) apply to the interstate sale of CBD products. Unfortunately, however, we have little guidance from the FDA regarding how hemp-CBD products such as foods, beverages, dietary supplements and cosmetics should comply with basic…
I’m currently advising multiple cannabis clients that are seeking to enter into co-branding deals, some with other cannabis companies, some with non-cannabis companies, and some of these clients were initially unaware of the potential risks to their intellectual property (“IP”) that could result from a poorly-drafted agreement (or from failure to adequately protect their IP from the outset). Most of the industry, at least here in California, is aware of the collaboration between Lagunitas Brewing…
On January 3rd, according to the owner of a smoke shop in Yuma, Arizona, officials from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seized a variety of CBD products from the store’s shelves. The officials took fewer than fifty items and told the owner to anticipate follow-up paperwork within seven to ten business days. According to the owner’s account, FDA officials had stopped by the shop a few days earlier and asked what products were edible…
We hear from clients on a regular basis who receive fraudulent notices pertaining to their U.S. federal trademark applications, and because we’ve seen an uptick in these scams over the last month, we thought it would be prudent to publish a PSA on the topic, together with what to look out for if you are a trademark applicant or owner. These trademark scams often come in the form of an official-looking letter or invoice requesting…
With everyone discussing the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill and its implications for the booming cannabidiol (CBD) industry, there is much speculation as to how the legalization of industrial hemp will affect the treatment of CBD by multiple government agencies, including the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Will the legalization of industrial hemp open the door to federal trademark protection for CBD products? Unfortunately, the answer is not yet clear. I’ve discussed the…