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Hemp Farmers Can Now Seek Intellectual Property Protection

The Trump administration is offering to extend important legal rights for some of the biggest players in the hemp industry.

The United States Department of Agriculture recently announced that hemp farmers can now apply for intellectual property protections for their seed varieties. That would prevent other growers from using those unique types of seeds without permission for up to 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 protection of their work,” the USDA said in an April announcement. Applications will be reviewed by the department’s Plant Variety Protection Office.

Congress opened the door for the move last year when lawmakers legalized hemp production as part of the 2018 Farm Bill. They tagged hemp as an agricultural commodity and removed it from the list of controlled substances. That not only lifted restrictions on the commercial production of hemp, but also allows growers to seek crop insurance and intellectual property protections related to the plant.

Hemp is often used to create rope, textiles, clothing and biodegradable plastics, among other products. It is distinct from marijuana, although both are strains of the cannabis sativa plant. Hemp contains very low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, which gives marijuana its psychoactive effect.

The USDA is still working on a suite of regulations that will set some basic standards for hemp farmers to market the crop. Those rules are expected to be in effect by next year.

Intellectual Property 101

Intellectual property protections are important legal tools that help companies ward off the theft of their inventions, designs and creative works.

A variety of state and federal laws create a number of rights for the victims of intellectual property infringement. That includes the right to take IP thieves to court and seek monetary compensation.

A seasoned intellectual property lawyer can go a long way in helping to advance and protect these rights. An attorney can work proactively to nip intellectual property infractions in the bud in many cases, while working aggressively to build the strongest possible case of money damages in full blown litigation in others. A lawyer can also guide a business through the legal process with a strategy that is tailored to the client’s unique needs and goals.

Speak With an Experienced Intellectual Property Lawyer

If you or your business has been victimized by intellectual property theft, it is vital that you seek the assistance of an experienced intellectual property lawyer. At Glancy Prongay & Murray, our attorneys combine decades of experience in the courtroom and at the negotiating table to protect clients’ rights and hold intellectual property thieves fully accountable.

Our firm is pleased to offer a number of fee arrangements to share the financial risk with our clients.  That includes partial and full contingency arrangements in many cases. Call us at (310) 201-9150 or contact us online to speak with an attorney today.