(CN) – The word “Cannabis” may not be trademarked for beverages containing hemp, a European court ruled. The Court of First Instance upheld a European market office’s determination that the mark is descriptive, not distinctive.
A German brewery producing a beer called “Cannabis Club” challenged Italian beverage retailer Giampietro Torresan’s 1996 registry of “Cannabis” for a line of hemp-containing alcoholic beverages.
The Luxembourg-based court agreed with the German brewery that this is not a “normal” way of designating alcoholic beverages.
Hemp has three possible meanings, according to the court: a textile plant, a “narcotic which is prohibited by a great number of member states,” and a disputed therapeutic substance.
The ruling said that the average consumer buying a “Cannabis” beer will probably do so because “they are convinced that it contains cannabis and are attracted by the possibility of obtaining from the beverage the same … sensations as they obtain from the consumption of cannabis in another form.”
This makes “Cannabis” descriptive of a product’s characteristics, which cannot be trademarked, the court concluded.