Cannabis and legal systems around the world have had a long and arduous relationship. Though cannabis has been used and beloved by millions of people for thousands of years, governments have continuously tried to put the kibosh on any effort to legalize its use. Until only recently, cannabis has been largely illegal throughout the world. But in only the last decade, there has been an incredible legal turnaround for cannabis.
Cannabis is now completely legal in Canada and legal either medicinally or recreationally in more than 60% of the United States. While legal systems have traditionally worked to oppose cannabis and its consumers, they are now forced to work hand in hand with those consumers and those who work within the cannabis industry to best implement regulatory framework. An ongoing issue of particular interest to cannabis businesses is how well cannabis patents will hold up under legal scrutiny.
The case that will set what many believe to be a legal precedent in the United States for patents on cannabis products is currently being deliberated in the courts. According to Reuters, “In a July lawsuit, Colorado-based United Cannabis Corp, accused Pure Hemp Collective Inc. of infringing its patent covering a liquid formulation with a high concentration of CBD.”
The issue at the heart of the case is the strength of cannabis patents in general. Because cannabis is such a general term that can be used to describe a vast number of different plants, strains, and compounds, it is possible to claim that having a patent on a certain specific cannabis-based product is nearly impossible.
Future of Cannabis Patents is to be Determined
The United Cannabis Corp case is going to be an important bellwether for the future of cannabis patents in America. Should the defendants, Pure Hemp Collective Inc. win the case, the argument in favor of the legality of patents on particular cannabis derived products grow much more water tight. Should United Cannabis Corp win, cannabis patents will be devalued to such a degree that many who hold patents on specific cannabis-derived products should be prepared for a barrage of lawsuits.
The outcome of the first major cannabis patent case is yet to be determined but its significance cannot be underestimated. The future of the business of cannabis will be inherently tied to how this case eventually plays out.
Lane is based in Southern California and is a content curator for Medical Marijuana 411. He focuses his research into finding informative stories that can help medical marijuana patients better understand their diverse medicine.