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The cannabis industry in Canada has recently blossomed, due to its recent status as legal for medicinal purposes, and its controlled legalization for recreational use which took effect in October 2018.

Accordingly, protection of intellectual property assets has become paramount, both for Canadian cannabis companies looking for advice on international protection, and for international cannabis companies doing business in Canada.

Powerful protection can often be obtained through trademark, patent, industrial design, plant breeders rights, and copyright, for various aspects of your innovative product or brand.

Our team has extensive experience finding patentable subject matter in your cannabis-related invention, be it a new plant cell or gene, uses (including medical uses) of cannabis or specific cannabinoids, formulations, administration methods, methods of manufacturing and purifying, and just about anything else that is novel and innovative. Plant breeders’ rights can also be obtained for new varieties of cannabis plant.

Industrial designs (design patents) can be useful for protecting the aesthetics of cannabis-associated wares, packaging or product.

Trademarks can be obtained, both for cannabis, and related wares and services. For cannabis itself, our team can guide you regarding the advertising and marketing restrictions that should be taken into account when choosing a brand.

The regulatory requirements to become a licensed producer, to obtain a dealer’s license, or to sell, import or export cannabis products are evolving, and can be quite complex, comprising legislation including the Cannabis Act, the Food and Drugs Act, and in some cases, the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and Narcotic Control Regulations.

Our team has specific experience in the following aspects of cannabis-related IP:

  • Navigating the regulatory requirements under the Cannabis Act & Regulations, the Industrial Hemp Regulations, the Controlled Drugs & Substances Act and the Food and Drugs Act to:
    • become licensed cultivators (standard or micro) of cannabis
    • become licensed processors (standard or micro) of cannabis, including the processing of cannabis oil for use in association with topicals, edibles and more
    • conduct research and development relating to cannabis, cannabis strains and derivatives thereof
    • conduct analytical testing on cannabis and cannabis related products
    • import and/or export cannabis (wet, dry or seeds) into or from Canada
  • Navigating the Controlled Drugs & Substances Act to prepare applications to obtain Dealer’s Licenses to conduct research and development relating to Cannabis oil extraction and new product development
  • Medical use and method of medical treatment patents
  • Administration method patents, including administration devices
  • Oral formulations
  • Topical formulations
  • Nasally-administered formulations
  • Suppository formulations
  • Sustained and extended release formulations
  • Plant breeders rights (generally)
  • Trademarks for cannabis-related wares
  • Trademarks for cannabis
  • Trademarks for cannabis services and a cannabis “mascot”
  • Litigation surrounding cannabis trademarks

Have a question or need more information on intellectual property in the cannabis sector? Let’s talk – see which members of our team can help you get started:

Patents: Charles Boulakia
Trademarks: Joanna Pitkin
Litigation: Kenneth Hanna and Matthew Norwood
Regulatory: Kenneth Hanna and Abbas Kassam

Our People

Kazim Agha

Patent Agent - Partner


Charles Boulakia

Lawyer, Patent & Trademark Agent - Partner


Timothy Bourne

Lawyer, Patent & Trademark Agent - Partner


Mitchell Charness

Lawyer, Patent & Trademark Agent - Partner*


Meika Ellis

Lawyer, Trademark Agent - Associate


Steven Leach

Lawyer, Patent & Trademark Agent - Partner*


Ken Ma

Lawyer, Patent Agent - Associate


Stephen Martin

Lawyer, Patent & Trademark Agent - Partner


Joanna Pitkin

Lawyer, Trademark Agent - Partner


Dan Raymond

Patent Agent - Associate


Recent IP & Firm News

Cannabis Plant

Depreciation of goodwill with cannabis trademarks

The legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada in 2018 was accompanied, naturally, by an increase in cannabis-related trademark use, often with humorous or satirical undertones, such as Fifty Shades of Green and High Park. Not everyone, however, is laughing.

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cannabis licencing

Overview of Licences Available in the Cannabis Supply Chain

Prior to the instatement of the Cannabis Act on October 17, 2018, access to cannabis was limited to uses for medical purposes. Now, the Cannabis Act and the Cannabis Regulations provide a framework for legal access to cannabis for non-medical purposes, along with the regulation of its production, distribution, and sale. Under this framework, Health Canada has developed a comprehensive regulatory system involving five classes of licences that businesses interested in the cannabis industry can obtain.

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Cannabis IP strategy

Cannabis IP strategy in an uncertain regulatory environment

Consider protections available before going to market. We are witnesses to the birth of an entirely new industry in Canada: the legal production and distribution of cannabis for recreational purposes. Struggles for market dominance are already underway as contenders scramble for the pole position before the starter pistol sounds on Oct. 17.

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