Various states across the nation, including California, have legalized recreational and medicinal marijuana. This has opened the door for companies in the states to grow, manufacture and sell a variety of marijuana-based products. Many companies have even patented different varieties and forms of marijuana and marijuana-based products. The question is: Will pot patents hold up in court?
If pot patents will hold up in court, some companies stand to benefit financially from the patents they currently hold. One Colorado company in particular, United Cannabis Corp., has sued the firm Pure Hemp Collective Inc., for patent infringement relating to a liquid form of highly concentrated CBD oil.
Experts claim that a key issue in the matter relates to the broad nature of the patent. Some believe that the patent does not have sufficient novelty to withstand a legal challenge. That said, because marijuana has been illegal for so long, the may not be sufficient documentation of prior uses and research into different forms of marijuana from the past. Even if a particular form of marijuana has existed commonly for a long time, a company might be able to scoop up the idea and patent it as the company’s own.
In reference to this, the executive director of the Open Cannabis Project said, “Because of 80 years of prohibition, there is a massive lack of prior art documentation for cannabis … Folk knowledge and information that is clear to the industry might not be seen or considered by the patent office.”
It will be interesting to follow this relatively new issue in patent law to see how the issues related to pot patents play out in court. In the meantime, if you have an issue related to a marijuana patent, learn more about your legal rights and options by getting in touch with a patent law attorney as soon as possible.