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IP Protection for the Cannabis Industry

May 10, 2018

Using IP to Protect Medical Applications of Cannabis:  Tips and Strategies for Innovators

With the impending legalization of recreational cannabis, there is tremendous interest in a plant that has long lurked in the shadows of illegality. There is also significant interest in the medicinal qualities of cannabis and some of its key components, which are useful in managing chronic pain and show promise in the treatment of numerous disorders.  With such unexplored ground comes the potential to develop new innovations, and a need to protect those innovations in the best way possible.

There are a number of ways that intellectual property (IP) can be used to protect cannabis-related innovations. On Thursday, May 10, 2018, LifeSciences BC held its IP Protection for the Cannabis Industry session, which outlined how IP can be applied to help businesses secure the value of new innovations relating to medical applications of cannabis. Specific examples of medical applications of cannabis or cannabinoids that have been patented or are the subject of pending patent applications were given and compared to contrasting examples of situations where trade secret protection might be considered over patent protection. Different strategies for protecting new strains of cannabis were discussed, as well as the interplay between plant breeders’ rights and trademark rights when the names of new strains are to be protected.

This session was of interest to those concerned with IP strategy for companies investigating new medical applications of cannabis or new cannabis strains, as well as to investors looking to ensure that their investments in this sector will be protected. This session also offered those who are interested in the cannabis industry generally an opportunity to learn more about some of the unique considerations that apply to using IP to protect cannabis-related innovations.


Jennifer Marles: partner and intellectual property lawyer with Oyen Wiggs

Gina Lupino: registered US Patent Attorney

Lana Culley: Director of Business Development, Anandia Labs

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May 10, 2018
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