Cannabis Research and Commercialization: Best Practices for University IP Protection

Tuesday, October 29, 2019
9:00 AM-11:00 AM CST

As cannabis becomes big business and has become legalized in many states across the U.S., a growing number of universities have opened research units dedicated to the study of cannabis and hemp. Research and commercialization activity is booming around medical applications, agricultural advances, and consumer product development. But many legal experts warn that the industry‘s rapid growth is outpacing legal protections for the IP involved and can complicate matters for the research itself.

Universities face unique challenges in protecting intellectual property surrounding Cannabis created by its conflicting legal status between state and federal law. The continued criminalization of cannabis at the federal level obstructs strong trademark protection. It has the effect of simultaneously making the demonstration of novelty easier under patent law while making compliance with the written description requirement more difficult.

In other words, protecting the IP that stems from cannabis research is tricky, but not impossible.


  •  Patents
    • Prior art problems unique to Cannabis
      • defensive publication
    • Cannabis at PTAB
    • Obviousness issues with dosing
    • The “911” patent and subject matter eligibility
    • Seed and tissue deposits – can you mail that?
    • Prospects for patent enforcement in federal courts
  • Plant Variety Protection for Cannabis: hemp versus marijuana
  • Cannabis trademarks
    • Federal registration for “hemp” versus “marijuana”

State and common law protection for Cannabis