Cannabis retailer and cultivator MedMen has filed a trademark application for the word “cannabis,” it was revealed recently. The application to trademark the word for use in connection with “T-shirts; Short-sleeved or long-sleeved t-shirts” was filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on October 3. Photographs included with the application depict graphic T-shirts with the word “cannabis” superimposed over photographs of MedMen dispensary exit bags held by models with cropped-out heads.

News of the application created a buzz on social media and among cannabis industry publications, with many lamenting a takeover of cannabis by big business and others wondering if the action by MedMen is simply a publicity stunt. I tried to get more information from the company but requests for comment sent to Daniel Yi, vice president of corporate communications, and Dan Edwards, senior vice president of legal affairs and the attorney who filed the trademark application, have not yet been answered.

Intellectual Property in the Cannabis Industry

We also reached out to Shabnam Malek, an attorney who specializes in trademarks and intellectual property in the cannabis industry at the law firm Branch and Branch in Oakland, California. Malek says that protecting intellectual property can be tricky

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