Christopher Niro and Kristy Diesner Author "With Federal Trademarks Off Table, State Pot Trademarks Solid Alternative"


“With Federal Trademarks Off Table, State Pot Trademarks Solid Alternative,” authored by Christopher Niro and Kristy Diesner, has been published in the March 4, 2020, edition of the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.

Article Summary

On Jan. 1, Illinois became the 11th jurisdiction where marijuana can be sold legally for recreational use, in additional to medical use. The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act legalizes and regulates the production, consumption and sale of cannabis in Illinois.

Illinois growers and distributors should seek the protection for their unique brands of cannabis and retail establishments selling those items. However, due to the federal classification of cannabis as a narcotic, federal trademark registration is out of reach for the near future. However, obtaining a state trademark registration for cannabis brands is a viable alternative.

The trademark regime seeks to prevent confusion in the marketplace. As retailers of recreational cannabis continue to be granted licenses, these entities need to establish and grow (pun intended) their brand recognition with consumers. Watching Illinoisans line up outdoors in the dead cold of winter may lead some to believe that no one cares who is selling these products, but as time goes on, brand loyalty with consumers will become increasingly necessary.

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About the Authors

Chris Niro focuses his practice on intellectual property litigation, prosecution and other business affairs, including brand management and portfolio development. He represents individuals and entrepreneurs, as well as mid-size companies and multinational organizations. Chris advises his clients with regards to patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. In addition, he has extensive experience with all aspects of intellectual property litigation in both state and federal trial and appellate courts.

Kristy Diesner focuses her practice on intellectual property law matters. She counsels individuals and companies in the protection and enforcement of their trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. She also advises clients on trademark registrations. She is regularly engaged in drafting trademark office action responses, complaints, cease and desist letters, motions for entry of default, motions for entry of default judgment and motions for summary judgment in lieu of complaint. She also files trademark applications, monitors numerous trademarks and performs trademark clearance searches for clients in order to recommend the strongest marks.

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