Medical marijuana for patients is a result of the selection and breeding of appropriate plants. It is not a molecule synthesized in a pharmaceutical company. For this reason, the legal approach differs from the typical pharmaceutical industry. As the use of medical cannabis becomes popular, more and more stakeholders are concerned with controlling this market. They include patients, doctors, manufacturing companies, pharmacies, business analysts, lawyers and research teams.
Current intellectual cannabis property rights focus
Agricultural technology specific to cannabis cultivation is not covered enough, which opens up a large field for research. Research results suggest
that patents in agricultural technologies occur. These are patents aimed at improving the yield and quality of cannabis. We know these technologies as “agritech”. Such agricultural-focused patents represent original, innovative research achievements that address specific problems in cannabis cultivation, such as:– protection of hemp crops,– maximization of yields,– collection and processing,– and new preferred varieties.In recent years, researchers published patents for the expression of cannabis genes. Thus, since 2015, the number of patents for cannabinoid extraction methods has increased.Production of medical cannabis will not be efficient without fully understanding and developing the processes required to ensure the characteristics and quality of the final product. Intellectual property rights (especially patents) in upstream (cultivation) and midstream (transportation) technologies are not as numerous as others. Still, approximately ten times as many patents occured in the downstream therapeutic sector (e.g. processing, use). Major pharmaceutical companies
such as Abbvie, Sanofi and Pfizer are among the top patent holders for cannabis in general. The focus on the last part of the chain explains why only three cannabis-derived drugs have received FDA marketing approval in the US. Even though a large number of patents covering various medical indications.
Strenghtening research in upstream and midstream processes is therefore important. So is increasing the number, quality and depth of clinical trials. Understanding intellectual property rights is essential for medical marijuana researchers and producers to minimize future risks, increase the relevance of their work, and identify research opportunities
. In addition, patent protection may be necessary to maintain a competitive advantage. Patents can help to attract investors or collect revenue from patented, licensed products.Furthermore, any obstacles to patenting in this industry are no different in legal terms from obstacles in other fields. It suggests that it is prudent to think about the whole process of production and use and what role patents can play and what purposes patents can help European companies achieve.