Vices And Virtues: Beware The Differences Around The World
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The Canadian Intellectual Property Office provides a helpful
reminder on its website as follows: “Canada is the first G7 country to legalize
recreational use of marijuana and businesses should be aware that
other countries may not allow the same IP protections for the
cannabis industry.” The red, bolded “Caution”
sign will catch your attention, but this might also make you
wonder: what about other goods and services? How might their
varying legal statuses affect IP protection in different
jurisdictions? Let’s discuss this below.
In Canada, thanks to full legalization, businesses are free to
apply to trademark goods and services related to cannabis use.
After amendments to the Trademarks Act came into force
in June 2019, scents and tastes can now be trademarked as well.
In the US, however, CBD ingredients used as food additives and
dietary supplements are still considered unlawful under the Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics Act. However,
other hemp-based products with less than 0.3% THC or CBD are no
longer considered to be controlled substances and can be
On the very opposite end of the legalization spectrum, cannabis
is still an illegal narcotic drug under the law in China.
It’s safe to say that cannabis trademark applications will
not be accepted by Chinese authorities any time soon.
Laws and regulations about Bitcoin and related cryptocurrency
instruments can vary greatly. As of February 2020, Bitcoin is legal
in the US, Japan, the UK, Canada, and most other developed
countries. In China, it is not a criminal offence to hold Bitcoin,
but there are heavy restrictions around the trading of and access
to Bitcoin. India banned banks from dealing in Bitcoins and left
the overall legal status of cryptocurrencies unclear. If you are
thinking about trademarking a cryptocurrency product or service in
a particular jurisdiction, it is important not only to find out
about its legal status but also to understand the applicable laws
and regulations. These regulatory schemes continue to change and
update as the law plays catch-up to technology, even in
jurisdictions where cryptocurrency is considered legal.
Although its consumption is often regulated by law, alcohol is
legal in most countries around the world. However, the total
prohibition of alcohol is still enforced in several Muslim-majority
countries, for example, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Iran. Since
Muslim teachings are the main reason for its prohibition, some
Muslim-majority states and communities in India and Pakistan also
enforce alcohol prohibition, even though these two countries
don’t have a sweeping alcohol ban. If you are interested in
applying for trademarks of alcoholic beverages in India or
Pakistan, you should look into both local and national
Why is this important to you?
Before applying for trademarks in a different country, take the
time to do your research. It’s better to be prepared and
aware of the specific struggles that you may face depending on the
regulations of a country.
Originally published by Minden Gross, July 2020
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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