Denver and the USPTO abuzz with 420

Posted by | April 20, 2013 | General | No Comments

Photoshop credit Roger Gastman talks about everything. . .

According to and the, today — April 20th — is a counter-culture /cannabis-culture holiday referred (or should I say reefered?) to as “four-twenty.” Apparently, it also is customary to smoke pot at 4:20 pm, which explains the frequent lines at snack and smoothie shops between 4:30-5 each afternoon (just watch, now you’ll start noticing it too).

Back in August, 2010 I questioned, “Has the PTO Gone to Pot?” Apparently not, so can the USPTO really tell us something about this cannabis cultivating counter-culture? Of course! 

Although marijuana first was classified as Cannabis sativa by taxonomist Carl Linnaeus way back in 1753, the first counter culture registration application for 420 was not filed until August, 1995 for “shirts, shorts and hats.” That mark was never registered due to the Applicant’s failure to provide evidence of use of the mark (how ironic). The next application wasn’t filed until February, 2006 for “posters, bags, shirts & hats & buttons.” That application was expressly abandoned a year later, costing the Applicant $1,300 in filing fees. The first two counter-culture 420 trademarks to become registered were for apparel and sunglasses and belonged to John Marvin Rowland of Santa Ana, California. Both registrations were cancelled in 2008 after Mr. Rowland failed to file the first ten-year renewal. The next 420 mark to become registered was 420 INDIA PALE ALE for beer, which was registered in 1997 and remains registered. Following that was 420 for watches which also ironically remains registered.

Of the 205 USPTO 420 records that have been filed since 1995, 182 of them probably pertain to pot! Of those, 63 applications are for apparel marks, 20 of which remain LIVE. Presently, there are 77 LIVE PTO records, of which 48 are registered and 29 are pending. Of those that are registered, these are my favorite:


MUNCHIES 420 for restaurant services

420 PIZZA for pizza & owned by Dad & Dude Breweria (I wonder what they offer for toppings)

420 TRAIN WRECK for internet radio station that plays rock and space music

420 POPS for candy (undoubtedly herb infused)

420 GIRLS for women smoking and posing with Cannabis, adult-themed and cannabis-themed photographs

420Nurses for advertising and marketing services, namely, modeling services for advertising or sales promotion

and the hands down winner:

420Dude for legal services. In Texas! (Yes, really!)

[/framed_box] At least based on what we’ve seen at the USPTO, no one can accuse stoners of lacking creativity. 

Speaking of creativity, the image of the cultural icon at the top of the page is a great example of a trademark parody — poking fun at the ubiquity of McDonald’s and marijuana. I wonder which is healthier. Maybe that can be Morgan Spurlock’s next documentary adventure?

About Lara

Lara Pearson is a trademark attorney with Exemplar, where she also serves as the firm's Sustainability Steward. Lara's legal practice focuses on trademark and copyright law, including: intellectual property audits; trademark search & clearance; trademark and copyright registration & maintenance; intellectual property transfers; transactional work; and dispute resolution, including litigation when necessary. Lara primarily represents other social enterprises -- those leveraging their businesses and brands as catalysts for positive social and environmental change. Such businesses engage in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) to have a positive "triple bottom line" of people, planet and profit. As Exemplar's Sustainability Steward, Lara works with others in her law firm to measure and reduce the firm's carbon emissions and encourage engagement in social responsibility initiatives, including pro bono legal work and volunteering. Lara is a proud member of the Social Venture Network. Brand Geek is a member of 1% for the Planet and a Certified B Corporation, whose Incline Village office is certified under the regional Keep the Sierra Green program. Exemplar Companies is the most innovative professional services firm in the New Economy. Our unique, diversified expertise spans the disciplines of corporate law, business advisory, and capital/investment banking to better meet the needs of our high-potential customers. We have assembled a comprehensive suite of service to meet the complex issues facing companies in today’s challenging business environment. Our unique, holistic approach ensures the growth and success – and greatly increases the competitive advantage - of our customers. The Exemplar team is comprised of knowledgeable, highly skilled experts in a wide range of industries and disciplines. They work closely with our customers to provide trusted advice, incomparable support, expert guidance and the ultimate competitive advantage as they accelerate their businesses and position themselves to transform industries.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.