Cannabis Patent Law
Protect your cannabis inventions, innovations and unique strains by applying for a patent. Utility patents, plant patents, the Plant Variety Protection Act, and trademarks are all tools you can use for protection. Each of these options are available for hemp (below 0.3% THC) and some are available for those inventions and genetics above 0.3% THC. Our knowledgeable cannabis patent lawyers take on clients from anywhere in the world and can walk you through the entire process for each of the following types.
Utility patents protect “any new or useful product, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.” This type of patent law can protect products, grow methods, extraction methods and apparatus, devices, and new solutions of cannabinoids with other substances, so long as it is new and innovative. Utility patents are now being issued for strains and can include aspects of selection, breeding, and F1 hybrids. There is no prohibition on cannabis patents. Proper audits should be conducted at consistent intervals to protect all legal marijuana, CBD, and hemp innovations. Utility patent applications should be filed within one year of the public disclosure of the invention, with the help of an attorney at our law firm. If one seeks international protection, the application should be filed prior to any public disclosure, as each country has different laws. A seed or tissue culture deposit is required for utility patents covering unique cannabis strains. Plants with more than 0.3% THC cannot be submitted into a U.S. depository, but hemp can.
A plant patent can be issued for a “living plant organism which expresses a set of characteristics determined by its single, genetic makeup or genotype, which can be duplicated through asexual reproduction but cannot otherwise be made or manufactured.” A plant patent “protects the patent owner’s right to exclude others from asexually reproducing the plant, and from using, offering for sale, or selling the plant so reproduced, or any of its parts, throughout the United States, or from importing the plant so reproduced, or any part thereof, into the United States.” Plant patents are available for genotypes of cannabis plants regardless of THC content. Plant patents protect the asexual propagation of the plant. Innovative cultivators invest substantial efforts into creating unique strains. Protecting and/or licensing the plants or products produced therefrom without proper patent protection is not wise. Our cannabis patent lawyers can help ensure you file an application within one year of the first public disclosure of the plant.
Plant Variety Protection Act
The Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA) provides 20 years of exclusive control over new, distinct, uniform, and stable sexually or asexually reproduced plant varieties. The PVPA extended coverage to hemp on April 24, 2019. Plants in excess of 0.3% THC are not currently applicable for PVPA protection. Similar to a utility patent, a seed or tissue culture deposit is required. Three thousand seeds must be deposited to the PVP Office. If you have any questions about this act and the protection it offers, one of our cannabis patent lawyers would be happy to schedule a consultation with you.
Trademark Protection for Strain Names
Trademarks protect brands in association with goods and services. Trademarks can prove functional for informational services protected by the first amendment as well as state law protection. When it comes to THC or CBD goods, however, the case is more complex. The FDCA does not afford protection to certain types of CBD products, such as foods, drinks, and pet foods. The USPTO also does not permit brand protection for varietals and cultivars. So, how does one protect their hemp strain? First, name your unique strain with a “scientific name,” then choose your strain’s brand. Protect the brand name, which should not be the similar to the varietal name, and license it along with your patent protecting genotype. Our cannabis trademark lawyers can help navigate you through this process.
Contact our Cannabis Patent Lawyers
The attorneys at our law firm are experts in cannabis patent law and can walk you through each specific patent or trademark process to protect your valuable assets. We can answer any and all questions you may have and help you determine what is novel and what is not – a key component of patentability – when analyzing your intellectual property and applying for a legal marijuana, CBD, or hemp-related patent.
No matter where you are located, Gleam Law cannabis patent lawyers based in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland are ready to help you protect your intellectual property, inventions, brand and more. Below are just a few of the cannabis patent law services we offer:
- Patent applications and filing
- Cannabis trademark registration
- Cannabis copyright protection
- Intellectual property rights and licensing
- Business litigation