Although cannabis is still illegal at a federal level, a majority of states in the U.S have now legalized it for either recreational or medical use. Illegality of cannabis being illegal has not stopped the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) from issuing patents on related to the plant, as the USPTO has been issuing cannabis-related patents since 1942. Nevertheless, research shows that as a result of the dichotomy between the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) and the USPTO, inventors may be timid when it comes to applying for patent protection when cannabis is involved.
In a previous post I discussed a number of relevant points related to a business perspective on patent protection, or what I like to refer to as Effective Patenting. As a point of significance I noted that before filing a patent application, it is first important for a business to determine what its objectives are for doing so. Seeking a patent just for the sake of a patent is hardly ever fruitful. I identified three primary objectives for consideration as: Excluding Competition, Marketing Tool, and Revenue Stream. Once objectives are identified, it is time to consider strategy.
The first step in considering patent protection has nothing to do with patents, or the law. Instead, it involves a thorough analysis of your business and a determination of what your goals are. There are probably very few decisions that are made in business that don’t involve a cost-benefit analysis; obtaining a patent is no different. Patents are assets for your business that could pay huge dividends if properly orchestrated.
There are many reasons why businesses want patents, ranging from protection of core technologies to ownership for use as a marketing tool. Odds are that your goals are a hybrid of those two aims. Analyzing your business and determining your direction will often result in an intelligent and effective approach to building a patent portfolio resulting in a true and viable long-term asset.