An appeals court in Brazil is set to consider the issue of cannabis-related trademarks, and in particular their registrability under the country’s Intellectual Property Law (LPI), which forbids the registration of marks “contrary to morals and good customs” (Article 124, III).
One of the key issues at the intersection of cannabis law and cannabis business is the protection of the intellectual property rights (IPR). This is a frequent topic on this blog, with my colleague Alison Malsbury in particular keeping close tabs on developments in the United States. Having spent a significant part of my career working with international brands to protect their IPR in emerging markets, I’ve seen how intellectual property law is usually one of the “early movers” as a country’s legal system adapts to changing economic realities. Companies will be wary of engaging in even basic activities in a new market if they cannot obtain at least de jure protection for their trademarks.
Not surprisingly, IPR protection is also one of the first issues to come up as legal systems begin to respond to the increasing normalization of cannabis. In this, Latin America and Brazil in particular are no exceptions. One common tension is between