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Difficult questions arise in the context of marijuana-related inventions, patent procurement, and patent enforcement. These questions are a subset of the contradictions in the law of marijuana, where the federal government prohibits marijuana use and yet many of the states legalize, regulate, and tax it. This federal prohibition could discourage research into the health effects of marijuana and makes it difficult for marijuana-related innovations to satisfy statutory patentability requirements. It also renders enforcement of marijuana patents questionable, making marijuana businesses and patent owners vulnerable to nonpracticing patent entities, sometimes called "patent trolls."


© 2018-2024 American Intellectual Property Law Association. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission and originally published as Esfahani, Reza Roghani and Howard Bromberg. "Marijuana and Patents: The Complicated Relationship between Patent Rights and the Federal Criminalization of Marijuana." AIPLA Quarterly Journal 50, no. 3 (2022): 365.