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Protecting Cannabis IP: Viability of Cannabis Patents, USPTO Guidance on Trademark Applications, Copyrights

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

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Conducted on Tuesday, October 27, 2020

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 cannabis regulation means for IP and offer best practices for securing IP rights as the landscape evolves.


In 2019, 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, the legal status of cannabis impacts trademarks, 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. The number of patent applications for cannabis-related inventions continues to rise, and the USPTO is issuing an increasing number of cannabis-related patents. Last year, a federal district court upheld patent claims for liquid cannabinoid formulations, and the USPTO confirmed the patentability of claims relating to a cannabis-derived pharmaceutical. Also, cannabis patent portfolios have been critical pieces in several acquisitions.

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, including the USPTO cannabis trademark guide, recent decisions on the patentability and enforceability of cannabis patents, and the use of copyrights. The panel will also discuss the impact of the legality of cannabis on IP rights and what the FDA's 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
    2. Patents
    3. Copyright
    4. Trade secrets
  2. The legality of cannabis and its impact on IP rights
  3. FDA 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?


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

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

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