One of the more active areas in the patenting of cannabis technology in 2019 is the related fields of cannabis extraction and cannabinoid purification. Cannabis operators now must educate themselves and navigate an emerging landscape of U.S. cannabis extraction and purification patents for freedom to operate, while also looking for opportunities to patent their own innovations. So far in 2019, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has granted over 30 patents with claims directed to cannabis extraction technologies and many others related to distillation of cannabinoid components and techniques for obtaining active compounds from marijuana and hemp. Dozens more are pending.
A review of the USPTO files for recently issued cannabis extraction and purification patents reveals the following trends in examination and gives insight into this rapidly expanding area of cannabis IP:
- examination of claims and prior art searching is inconsistent and varies significantly by examiner;
- many patent applicants are submitting little, if any, prior art to the USPTO as part of their duty to disclose;
- the level of sophistication of patent counsel and patent drafting varies more than in other mature industries, such as pharmaceuticals;
- by comparison to related industries, such as pharmaceuticals, there is less supporting data and fewer working examples contained in patent specifications in the cannabis industry; and
- USPTO examiner searches and the applicants’ prior art submissions do not appear to be identifying much non-patent literature on the extraction of cannabis and purification of cannabinoids, although surely such public prior art information exists.
Nerd alert! We are about to get into the weeds on some recently granted U.S. patents in the area of cannabis extractions and purifications. [Read More @ linkedin]