Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Intellectual Property is going to POT (Marijuana, that is) - Bloomberg

Marijuana, Motorola, Moroccanoil: Intellectual Property - Bloomberg:

You have to laugh about the ideas being plant patents on Marijuana. But this is serious business.

First, if you come up with a new strain of a plant, you can apply for a "Plant Patent". If the patent is issued, you can use DNA testing to determine if/when someone else is infringing on your patent. Monsanto is the king (or Redwood) of plant patents.

HOWEVER, it is not possible to patent something that is illegal. The USPTO will say "offensive to public morality" (USPTO.)

So now, you as a happy pot grower have the dilemma. You would like to get ahead of the competition. You would like to get your strain of Mary Jane out there, protected by patent, but you can't because it is an illegal product. Of course, you could move to a state where it is legal. Then presumably you would be able to legally grow it, legally sell it, and legally patent it. You would, of course, want to trademark the name, and copyright the slogan and the official description.

No wait, come out of the smoke-filled fog and clear your slow and soggy head!... Marijuana is still illegal Federally, as in the good olde US of A. That's were the USPTO lives and all patents are federal. Hmmm...

All in all, the intellectual property could be quite valuable. And Monsanto and Altria will probably leave you alone for years; the market's too small and the legal risks are too big.

Now you are wondering, prior to the allowance of IP into the pot market, how did you protect your strain. Once the buds left the dealer's hands there was no way to corner the market. Any common criminal who didn't want to smoke it today, could sow the seeds of happiness, indefinitely into the uncertain future.

I can't wait to see the patent applications over the next few years as marijuana continues it rapid path down the rabbit hole of decriminalization. An Alice in Wonderland adventure awaits.
KEY: Patents, plant patents, USPTO, Illegal, Crime, Monsanto
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