is Of Counsel at Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP, where he maintains a comprehensive practice in intellectual property and technology law, handling litigation in state and federal courts. Matters include copyright infringement, trademark/trade dress infringement and unfair competition, false advertising, patent disputes, right of publicity, trade secret misappropriation and related matters involving restrictive covenants. Jim is also a Certified Information Privacy Professional (CIPP-US) who counsels businesses and individuals regarding data privacy and security issues, and assists in drafting and implementing data protection and incident response plans. In addition, he handles related litigation, including claims under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Jim also has extensive complex commercial litigation, employment and labor, professional liability and appellate advocacy experience.
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In most industries, federal trademark registration is seen as an attractive form of protection, because federal registration converts what would normally be localized common law trademark rights into national rights covering all 50 states. However, businesses in which the products or services involve the manufacture, distribution or consumption of cannabis—aka “plant-touching” businesses—face an uphill battle seeking to build and protect their brands. This is because all “plant-touching” products and services are still considered illegal at the federal level under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which prohibits, among other things, manufacturing, distributing, dispensing or possessing certain controlled substances, including cannabis and cannabis-based preparations, and makes it unlawful to sell drug paraphernalia. Accordingly, the USPTO’s current policy is to refuse all trademark applications for cannabis-based goods and services as illegal under the CSA.