Trademarking Psychedelics

Can companies in the psychedelic space register their trademarks, for psychedelics themselves? This is a question that often comes up, given U.S. trademark law’s requirement that marks be lawfully used in commerce as a precondition to registration. In recent times, many trademark applications filed by cannabis businesses have been refused on lawful-use grounds, though this legal prohibition can manifest itself in more mundane ways. For instance, USPTO denied a vineyard’s application to register their trademark on account of its failure to obtain approval for its bottle labeling.

To address the issue as it impacts psychedelics, let’s look at some real-world examples, specifically the companies behind U.S. News & World Report’s 5 Psychedelic Stocks to Watch.

Mind Medicine (MNMD)

Mind Medicine, also known as MindMed, filed an application to register the MINDMED mark in 2019. The application originally included goods in Class 5, namely, “Medical preparations for the treatment of PTSD, addiction, depression and mental disorders; Pharmaceutical preparations for the treatment of PTSD, addiction, depression and mental disorders.”

USPTO refused to register the trademark in Class 5, but not because of the nature of the goods. Instead, USPTO was of the opinion that the mark was likely to be confused with another trademark,

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