Article: Pot with patents could plant the seeds of future lawsuitsCraig Nard, Case Western Reserve University

As a professor who researches and teaches in the area of patent law, I have been monitoring how private companies are quietly securing these patents on cannabis-based products and methods of production, even though marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug. An even richer irony is that the government itself has patented a method of “administering a therapeutically effective amount of a cannabinoids.”

This engagement with the patent system raises several interesting questions as the legal pot industry grows and medical research on cannabis advances.

First of all, how can anyone or any entity obtain a patent on a living substance that grows in the wild and has been known for about 5,000 years?

In a landmark 1980 opinion, then-U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote that eligibility for patent protection does not depend on whether the substance is living or nonliving. Rather, the key question is whether the inventor has altered nature’s handiwork to the extent the resulting invention can be deemed a nonnaturally occurring substance.

Moreover, two federal statutes expressly recognize patent protection on plant varieties, including the 1930 Plant Protection Act, which defined the constitutional term “inventor” as including not only someone who created something new but also someone who is “a discoverer, one who finds or finds out.”

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Public hearings for the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program’s remaining rule sets are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday of next week. As a reminder, these hearings will begin at their scheduled time and go until all testimony is presented or until the scheduled end time – whichever is sooner. All hearings will take place at the State Fire Marshal’s office, 8895 East Main Street, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068. Please visit for more information.

Department of Commerce: Processors and Testing Labs
July 10, 2017 – 9 a.m. until no later than 12 p.m.

State Medical Board of Ohio: Medical Marijuana rules
July 10, 2017 – 1 p.m. until end of testimony

State of Ohio Board of Pharmacy: Dispensaries, Patients and Caregivers, and Form and Method
July 11, 2017 – 10 a.m. until no later than 5 p.m.



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