the first-ever patent for a plant containing significant amounts of THC

Terpenes and Testing Magazine

You know that strain you love? The one that a breeder managed to hone perfectly over the years? We are at a point in the industry where that strain that you love could be locked up by big business. The theft of a clone or tissue, biopiracy, could destroy decades of hard work with no mention of where it came from.

Why? Big business is knocking on the door of the cannabis industry, bringing with them the specter of plant patents.

There have already been a few U.S. patents related to cannabis over the years. The one that caught the attention of everyone in the cannabis business came in the form of U.S. patent 9,095,554, a 145-page utility patent filed in August 2015 by the BioTech Institute in Westlake, California on the breeding, production, processing and use of specialty cannabis.

The document lists dizzying details of the chemical structures of both CBD and THC, their uses, planting and harvesting for cannabis, along with dozens of charts only a scientist could understand. It’s being hailed as the first-ever patent for a plant containing significant amounts of THC.

BioTech has filed the first patent on a broad range of cannabis, with various forms and concentrations of CBD and/or THC, and just about every form of cannabis including extracts and edibles.

It’s a shot across the bow in a multi-billion-dollar industry blissfully unaware—or unaccepting—that the cannabis business is moving into big agriculture territory. Big money attracts big players. Those big players want to own, protect and have recourse to take legal action against any other big company challenging the breeding, growing and selling of their product.

For cannabis business owners, it’s becoming clear that it’s time to circle the wagons and find out what needs to be done to protect the intellectual property represented by their plant and processes. All while carefully eyeing the moves of big agriculture.

It’s time to add patent lawyer fees and filing fees to the list of costs for running a cannabis business.

The hard reality is, for most breeders and growers, it’s already too late. If they’ve sold a strain a year or longer ago, it’s now in the public domain and therefore can’t be patented.

“Patents are not a threat,” says Dale Hunt, a patent attorney working in biotechnology. “In this young industry, patents are viewed that way. They are only a threat if they are in the hands of a big agricultural company. But they are also a shield. A patent can actually be a sword and a shield.”

If Monsanto gets into the cannabis business—an unconfirmed but common fear if federal legalization occurs—they will definitely have patents on the plant. “People need to realize that, ‘OK, if we can’t stop them from getting into it, we can’t stop them from patenting, do we figure out how to engage, how to defend ourselves using the same tools?’” Hunt expressed.

“We have found out that a lot of people are terrified about big agriculture when it comes to patents,” Mowgli Holmes, Co-Founder and CSO for Phylos Bioscience, added. “But even little breeders want to patent too. We thought that patents on cannabis were bad altogether, but once you start talking to breeders, you realize that they want and need protection.” Phylos is an agricultural genomics company based in Portland, Oregon focusing on cannabis studies.

Hunt explained that some in the industry just want it to be a kind of “patent-free” zone. “And that is just not an option.”

There are a couple of ways to patent a new strain. For example, one can be obtained on an individual strain with a simple plant patent, available through the USPTO. This offers a narrow form of protection against a direct copying of that strain. “Plant patents cost about $5,000 to file and might cost $5,000 in lawyer fees,” Holmes shared. “So they are affordable.”

The utility patent, like the one granted to BioTech, is a patent where an applicant persuaded the examiner that the certain combinations of biochemical and genetic properties were new, and provided various strains that have those properties.

“What is important to understand about that utility patent is that it is not limited to any particular strain,” Hunt explained. “It’s limited to only that combination of properties. And that patent is valid only if that combination of properties never really existed before. A big part of the challenge is: Who knows? Where is the prior art? There is a great and unusual vacuum of knowledge of what is really out there. It may well be that what is before the examiner is not new at all.”

That utility patent could, in effect, end the development of other, more diverse strains if they exhibit the same combination of properties as listed in that patent. “Our position now is that utility patents are being granted, and it’s pretty damn clear that those are not good for the industry,” Holmes said. “They are innovation killing, destructive patents. And if the industry wants to survive, they need to fight them.”

Sadly, there are only more patents coming, “I think they already granted the second one for the same group, and I think that they have several others in the pipeline,” Holmes recounted.

To fight cannabis plant patenting, the Open Cannabis Project was created recently to build a prior art database. The database lists the DNA sequence of thousands of strains that are already out in the public domain and, by doing that, making those particular strains unavailable to be patented by any one person or corporation.

Both Hunt and Holmes are working on that project now.

“That is important because it’s the only possible way to fight a patent on a specific plant,” Holmes said. “We need to get a lot of testing labs to donate their testing data, because that chemical data and what chemical compounds are in the plant is what that 2015 utility patent rested on. If we had done that a year earlier—if we provided that prior art data—I don’t think they could have gotten that patent.”

What could happen now? Hunt gives an example of a mom-and-pop breeder that develops a great strain. “As the industry gets bigger and more lucrative, how are they going to protect that strain from someone grabbing it, and propagating it as their strain?” he concluded. “The mindset that patents are bad is not one that will serve people well in this burgeoning industry.”

CONTINUE READING…

Medical marijuana company developing drug to protect NFL players’ brains

  • February 12, 2015
  • OCGreenRelief
  • Health, Medical Marijuana, News

    With America in the midst of a pot revolution, companies are lining up to jump on the medical marijuana bandwagon. But 99 percent of them don’t have the exclusive license from the federal government to commercialize a medical marijuana patent currently held by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

    The patent, called  “Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants,” was quietly filed in 2005 when scientists from the NIH found certain cannabis compounds had neuroprotectant properties, “for example, in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke or trauma, or the treatment of neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia.”

    “I think the [NIH wanted] a public-private partnership … the government does a good job of using taxpayer dollars to foster research and development, and NIH is the largest laboratory of its kind in the world in terms of scientific research and development,” Dean Petkanas, CEO of KannaLife Sciences told FoxNews.com. “They don’t want to develop drugs, but they’d like private interest such as ours to step up to the plate and say ‘We’re gonna take some risk with you.’”

    In 2013, Petkanas’ New York-based company, which specializes in the research and development of plant-derived pharmacological products, obtained the license from the NIH’s Office of Technology Transfer to bring a marijuana-based neuroprotective drug to the market.

    “We’ve taken the preclinical approach so far to date on our first indication which is hepatic encephalopathy, which is a brain-liver disorder, where you do have neuronal degradation and degeneration, oxidative stress,” Petkanas said. “So we felt that we could look at that in parallel with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, (CTE) another brain-related disease, and see if neuroprotection would indeed be afforded across that panel.”

    CTE is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain found in athletes with a history of repetitive head trauma. The condition garnered national attention with a rash of suicides in retired National Football League (NFL) players who were suffering from symptoms similar to those seen in patients with Alzheimer’s, or other neurodegenerative diseases.

    To date, more than 4,500 retired players have filed suit against the NFL claiming that the league downplayed, dismissed and even covered up knowledge of the long-term neurological damage associated with repetitive concussions. The players acknowledge that while they expected some injury in playing the contact sport, they did not expect neurological damage fraught with symptoms usually experienced by aging dementia patients.

    Petkanas hopes his company’s research will pave the way for the development of cannabidiol-based (CBD) drugs to help protect the brains of contact sports athletes.

    CBD is one of at least 85 active cannabinoids found in cannabis that can be extracted from the plant for medical applications. In the United States, an orally administered liquid drug containing the compound was granted orphan status approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)to treat a rare seizure disorder in children.

    “We’ve found in some clinical research that cannabidiol, CBD, acts as a neuroprotectant, so in the parlance of pharmaceutical sciences, we could be using that as a prophylaxis against repetitive concussive injury,” Petkanas said.

    To help raise awareness about the medicinal properties of CBD and its potential applications in the world of sports, KannaLife Sciences partnered with former NFL defensive lineman, Marvin Washington, who is part of the lawsuit against the league.

    “I’ve seen some of the effects of the concussions and CTE with guys that I played with in my era,” Washington told FoxNews.com. “My son is a collegiate football player and this is for the quality of life of guys that are retiring, this is for protection of the current players and future players in the NFL and college. This just doesn’t cover the former players — the things that are happening in our lab are gonna cover everybody that plays a contact sport. It’s gonna make the game safer.”

    Washington acknowledged the NFL’s efforts over the past couple of years, and said that the tide started to turn after studies of hall-of-famer Mike “Iron Mike” Webster’s brain revealed the extent of neurological damage many players, both retired and current, are facing.

    “They reconfigured the Head, Neck and Spine Committee, and now they have neurosurgeons and neuroscientists on there that are heading it, and they did this two years ago, so yes, the NFL is doing a good job the past couple years,” Washington said. “But they’re saying they need to follow the signs — we want them to lead the signs, because they’re the biggest fish in the water out there.”

    But even though NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said earlier this year that he would consider allowing the use of medical marijuana as a neuroprotectant if the science is there to back it up, the league has had a notoriously tough stance on pot.

    A recent review of the league’s drug policy sought to institute blood testing for human growth hormone, strengthen the punishment for DUI arrests and reclassify controlled substances, but maintained the strict rules on marijuana as evidenced when Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon received a 16 game suspension after testing positive for the drug – a punishment many have criticized in comparison to Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who was initially suspended for only two games after his arrest for assaulting his then-fiancée.

    Washington argued that while the drug KannaLife Sciences is working to develop would cause a positive result on a drug test for an active player, CBD has no psychoactive effects. And, he added, research is piling up that shows the benefits – especially for football players – outweigh any negative stigma associated with marijuana.

    “Everybody calls football a contact sport – it’s a collision sport. And I know the story right now is domestic violence, but concussions and CTE … this is not going away, because the players are getting bigger and faster and stronger, and so they need something to protect the head,” Washington said. “This is something that players are not going to get high off of or anything like that because it has no psychoactive effects.”

    Petkanas said his company plans to file an investigational new drug application with the FDA in early 2015. But, he added, this is just the tip of the iceberg for medical marijuana.

    “We’re looking at a 15 to 20 year curve of really isolating some of these cannabinoids … and how they play a role in relieving stress in multiple diseases and disorders,” Petkanas said. “It interplays with our endocannabanoid system.”

    source;

    http://www.foxnews.com/health

     

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  • Pot growers’ new quest: U.S. patent protection for cannabis seeds

     

     

     

     

    Published: Dec 24, 2014, 5:05 pm Comments (12)

    By Jason Blevins, The Denver Post

    Ben Holmes gently lowers the turntable needle onto the album, and Traffic’s “Medicated Goo,” begins to play.

    Steve Winwood’s wistful tenor sweeps through the Centennial Seeds laboratory: “My own homegrown recipe’ll see you through.”

    “Everyone stole from Stevie Winwood,” Holmes says, his foot tapping as he injects a syringe of dark, syrupy liquid into his gas chromatograph.

    No one is stealing from Holmes, a self-taught scientist, engineer, farmer and cannabis seed geek who next month will take a rare step to apply for a patent on a laboriously created cannabis superstrain.

    Cannabis seed developer Ben Holmes uses THC to calibrate a gas chromatograph before conducting tests at his Centennial Seeds lab in Lafayette. (Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post)

    If it is awarded, the U.S. patent on Holmes’ medical-grade Otto II strain will be the first to protect a cannabis plant and a first step in establishing plant-breeder rights for growers who only a few years ago were considered criminals.

    “This industry came up in stealth, born in basements and crawl spaces,” Holmes said. “But now, with companies forming and making larger investments, the desire to protect intellectual property is becoming paramount. Bleeding-edge stuff, right here.”

    Indeed. Gone are the days when pie-eyed longhairs haphazardly hurled pollen into jungles of pot plants, hoping to meld two strains.

    Today’s top breeders are geneticists, taking years to weed through carefully engineered generations of cannabis to elevate the most desired traits.

    Some of these new superstrains are high in cannabidiol, or CBD, one of several dozen cannabinoid chemical compounds in cannabis and the plant’s major non-psychoactive ingredient. CBD has been credited with relieving some epileptic seizures, prompting widespread calls for additional research.

    Other more utilitarian superstrains are resistant to mites or the crop-killing powdery mildew that plagues grow operations across Colorado.

    Some superstrains are simply super stony, with sky-high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis.

    CONTINUE READING…

    China holds half of all Cannabis related patents….

    China Legalização da Maconha gera boom econômico

     

    In this episode of the Keiser Report, Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert discuss how the cannabis boom may benefit China which holds half of all cannabis related patents. They also discuss the fracking wells in Wyoming abandoned for the taxpayer to clean up. In the second half, Max interviews Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project about Colorado’s legalization of marijuana and what it means for the state’s economy.

    http://img.rt.com/files/episode/21/c4/b0/00/keiser_480p.mp4?event=download

    LINK TO ORIGINAL ARTICLE