USPTO Grants Trademark for PSILOCYBIN, But Don’t Get Too Worked Up Yet

A few weeks back, Twitter was abuzz about the fact that the United State Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) granted a federal trademark registration for the word PSILOCYBIN. The mark was registered by the company Black Pandas LLC and applies to the following services in Class 041:

“Development and dissemination of education materials of others regarding psychoactive plants, psychoactive fungi, and chemicals and related topics in the field of spirituality, religion, politics, art and science; Publication of articles, books, pamphlets and newsletters regarding psychoactive plants, psychoactive fungi, and chemicals and related topics in the field of spirituality, religion, politics, art and science.”

First, it is important to note that the registration does NOT provide the registrant with exclusive rights to use the word “psilocybin” on all goods and services, and particularly not on goods that could be described as “psilocybin.” One of the requirements for federal trademark protection in the U.S. is that a mark is “distinctive.” Simply put, this means that a mark cannot be “merely descriptive” of the goods or services on which it is applied. So, for example, no one would be eligible to protect the word “psilocybin” for use on mushrooms, because this would be

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