What advice would you give your clients about brand protection in your jurisdiction? Is it easy to trademark a cannabis brand?

The first permit to import a cannabis product was for medical purposes, regarding a child who suffered from epilepsy. The case became very famous and not so long after plenty of people started to import medical cannabis as an alternative medical treatment. This is a completely legal procedure in Mexico if you can obtain a prescription from a
specialist doctor, but commercialization is not allowed, even for medical reasons. Different is the case for products that contain CBD and no THC; these types of products used in cosmetics, supplements and overall personal care are accepted and allowed for commercialization.

It wasn’t until 2017 when the Supreme Court granted for the fifth time its recreational use, meaning that it became jurisprudence. Therefore, people who want to obtain a permit from the authority for the recreational use of the marihuana, will get it, although they’ll have to go through a judicial procedure and once they obtain the positive resolution, then the authority will be forced to grant the permit. The Bill of Law is being prepared and has been bouncing from the congress to the lower chamber and back, with no results so far. Legislators are still hesitating over certain concerns, and it might take some time before the market is open for recreational use due to the highly
permissive bill on law on review, but it’s on the right track and surely it will be approved soon.

Now, in relation to the IP, the trademark registration is federal, so if you get a permit or exclusivity to use a name, you can use it across Mexico. However, you might not be able to advertise it because of public order and social concerns, depending on the nature of the product or service offered. But the Mexican Institute of Intellectual Property is open to accept trademark requests with names that include cannabis and certain other related words. There are patents as well. We are the country with more patents registered than anywhere else in Latin American. Mexico is also in the top 10 countries in the world with more patents related to cannabis and trademarks. There are more than 300 registers open right now waiting for resolution. This highlights the openness of the Mexican IP authority when it comes to cannabis related registrations.