Cannabis Patent: How Does it Work?

The regulated cannabis industry is still in its infancy, and there remain many unknowns regarding the protection of intellectual property by cannabis breed patenting. Cannabis breeders seek out this protection for their work in hopes that it will create additional income for their business.  The details of cannabis patenting can be very complex. In this article, we’ll discuss two main types of patents that breeders can file for: a Plant Patent or a Utility Patent. 

Plant Patents

A plant patent gives the patent holder intellectual property rights to one particular breed of cannabis. Sounds simple, right? The problem with this patent is: when individuals have a plant patent, their breed can still be utilized by other non-patent holding individuals to create new hybrid strains. This limits the protection to just one genome of the plant; even the slightest mutations of the plant would not be protected under the patent.

Utility Patents

Second, is a utility patent which, generally, protects the creation of a new or improved product, process, or idea. Regarding cannabis, a utility patent protects the plant itself and also protects any products created or produced with it.

Both patents can last up to 20 years, but utility patents tend to be more desirable for breeders seeking ownership of the unique strains they produced.

Scientists and breeders are discovering new ways to identify phenotypic qualities of certain cannabis plants to protect intellectual property, but this is still a very early development. Differentiating between specific phenotypic and genotypic qualities amongst plants can be challenging, grueling work. Oftentimes, obtaining a patent for a specific cannabis breed can be a prolonged and intensive process. Many growers and breeders cannot afford this expense. Because of this, it has been challenging for breeders to protect what they believe to be their intellectual property. Some argue, that the challenge may be a positive thing, limiting larger corporations’ ability to monopolize certain strains. 

Cannabis Patent

How Point7 Can Help

Regardless of the proposed ethical opposition or technical challenges, patent filing has become increasingly popular amongst cannabis breeders. The issue of utility patents will become more and more relevant as scientific developments in gene analysis progress. As experts in the industry, Point7 helps our clients by guiding them through the intricacies of the cannabis business space. If you are looking to obtain a patent, Point7 can help. Reach out to us for an exploratory consultation, and let us guide you to success.

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