Cannabis and Innovation – Potent Patents! – Ep. 23 [Podcast]
In this week’s episode of Stuff You Should Know About IP, Thomas Colson and Raymond Guarnieri welcome special guest Kevin Fortin, a patent attorney who has been in the cannabis industry for more than ten years, to discuss intellectual property issues relating to cannabis. Many states have legalized marijuana, but it is still prohibited at the federal level. The United States Patent and Trademark Office can grant a patent for a product that the Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved. Federal trademark protection is only possible in connection with a product that is sold in interstate commerce, or when there is a bona fide intention to sell it in interstate commerce. Though it can be difficult to get a federal trademark for certain cannabis products, it can be possible to obtain common law trademark rights within a state or to register the trademark with a state. Present-day patent law is derived from the mining industry’s concept of a land patent. Cannabis is a botanical term that includes marijuana and hemp, the latter of which is legal at the federal level. Hemp contains less than 0.3% THC; marijuana has more than 0.3% THC, and it can contain up to between 20% and 30% THC in its buds. Hemp can be used to make products such as fabric, rope, graphene, hempcrete, and animal bedding. A plant patent can be obtained for an engineered hemp plant. A utility patent can be obtained for applications of hemp and for hemp processing methods.