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Protecting Cannabis IP: Viability of Cannabis Patents, New USPTO Guide on Trademark Applications for Cannabis, Copyrights

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Recorded event now available

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This CLE course will guide IP counsel on the protection of cannabis IP. The panel will examine the current cannabis IP landscape and discuss the impact of the legality of cannabis on IP rights. The group will also address what the FDA's recent hearing on cannabis regulation means for IP and offer best practices for securing IP rights as the landscape evolves.


In May, the USPTO departed from its longstanding position prohibiting registration of cannabis-related marks when it issued guidance for trademark applications of hemp-based goods and services. However, trademarks are impacted by the legal status of cannabis, which could be advantageous for those in federal compliance but problematic for those not in compliance.

Unlike trademarks, the legal status of cannabis is not relevant in the patent context. In April, a federal district court upheld patent claims for liquid cannabinoid formulations. Further, in January, the USPTO upheld the patentability of claims relating to a cannabis-derived pharmaceutical. Also, cannabis patent portfolios have been key pieces in several acquisitions.

The FDA recently held a hearing on regulation of products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds. It seems likely that the FDA will regulate such products. For IP that is dependent on the legal status of the product, this could be a game changer. As the cannabis industry grows, counsel needs to understand how best to protect the IP rights involved.

Listen as our authoritative panel examines the current cannabis IP landscape from the new USPTO cannabis trademark guide to recent decisions on the patentability and enforceability of cannabis patents to the use of copyrights. The panel will also discuss the impact of the legality of cannabis on IP rights and what the FDA's recent hearing on cannabis regulation means for IP. The group will offer best practices for how to secure IP rights even as the landscape continues to evolve.



  1. The current cannabis IP landscape
    1. Trademarks
      1. USPTO's examination guide on trademark applications for cannabis
    2. Patents
    3. Copyright
    4. Trade secrets
  2. The legality of cannabis and its impact on IP rights
  3. FDA hearing on cannabis regulation
  4. Practical strategies for obtaining IP rights for cannabis-related goods and services
    1. Trademarks
    2. Patents
    3. Copyright
    4. Trade secrets


The panel will review these and other vital matters:

  • How is the legal landscape evolving for the protection of cannabis-related IP rights?
  • What are the practical implications of legality questions related to cannabis-related goods and services?
  • What are best practices for securing IP rights for cannabis-related products?


Pelletier, Pauline
Pauline M. Pelletier

Sterne Kessler Goldstein & Fox

Ms. Pelletier is experienced in patent litigation before the federal courts and the International Trade Commission,...  |  Read More

Sterling, Deborah
Deborah Sterling, Ph.D.

Director and Chair
Sterne Kessler Goldstein & Fox

Dr. Sterling focuses her practice in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, where she is involved in all...  |  Read More

Dalier, Lauriel
Lauriel F. Dalier

Sterne Kessler Goldstein & Fox

Ms. Dalier focuses her practice on U.S. and international trademark clearance, prosecution, enforcement, and...  |  Read More

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