This week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that the Plant Variety Protection Office will now start accepting applications of seed-propagated hemp for plant variety protection. This is yet another major win for hemp cultivators and breeders following the groundbreaking 2018 Farm Bill.
The Plant Variety Protection Office, a.k.a. PVPO provides intellectual property protection to cultivators breeders of new varieties of seeds. In implementing the Plant Variety Protection Act of 1970, the PVPO will be examining new hemp variety applications and will be granting certificates that protect varieties for 20 years.
Certificate owners have rights to exclude others from marketing and selling their varieties, manage the use of their varieties by other breeders, and enjoy legal protections over their hard work.
According to the USDA, those who are interested in filing for hemp variety protections “can submit their applications through the electronic application filing system,” where they’ll now see “hemp” as a choice in the “Crop Kind” dropdown menu.
While this paves the way for protecting varieties, or strains, of hemp, many companies are already ahead of the curve with existing patent protections on various unique methods of extracting hemp, processing hemp into composite materials, and other inventions like hemp-based concrete.
Let’s also not forget that “The United States of America as represented by the Department of Health and Human Services” already has a patent on a “method of treating diseases caused by oxidative stress” using “therapeutically effective amount of a cannabinoid.”
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