Strain by strain, Holmes coaxed growers into having their unique heirloom genetics sequenced and added to a publicly accessible database—and pay for the privilege. Phylos’ online portal, dubbed the Galaxy , includes a 3D visualization tool that uses DNA data to map the relationships between thousands of cannabis varieties like constellations in the night sky.
It’s not hard to imagine a Monsanto-fication of commercial cannabis farming.
Creating a ‘galaxy’ of strains
Biotech startups and Big Ag corporations aren’t imagining—they’re planning. With federal legalization looming, some are already filing patent claims on cannabis strains. The bigger players are waiting in the wings, ready to purchase those patents and claim ownership of hugely valuable DNA.
Next, the Cannabis Classic broke ties with Phylos. Oregon’s premiere cannabis competition and tasting event had previously offered winning entries a free listing in the company’s solar system of strains. Mowgli Holmes had been part of the event’s original thought leadership circle. But no more.
In an email to Leafly, he made his case more succinctly:
High-CBD hemp seeds are ideal for creating potent cannabis oil.
Regular: These contain both male and female plants, meaning that half of the plants will not flower. This kind requires more light to begin flowering.
Why genetics matter.
There is a great deal of variety within cannabis seeds. Specifically, you can divide them into three main types:
However, even if someone does rightfully own a patent of a certain type of seed, that doesn’t mean that their patent is enforceable nationwide.
3. Resellers: There are many more resellers than either of the above two categories. Resellers will often sell product from a variety of companies and can inhabit a legal grey area, catering to black market weed vendors as well.
“Protecting Plant Genetics” GrowerTalks Magazine, to November 2016.
“Obama Reforms Patent Law,” SeedWorld, December 2011.
It is important to remember that the value of a trademark is centered on the reputation to the consumer of the goods associated with the mark. Based on that reputation, the consumer has an impression that they know the source of the goods and the quality and/or characteristics they expect from those goods or services.
Trademarks and hemp
There are a number of options for a trademark, but the key to a good trademark or brand is one that helps differentiate your product or seeds from your competitors, allowing the purchaser to quickly find what they are looking for.
“Plant Patent Primer: A step-by-step guide for protecting your new plants with a U.S. plant patent,” Greenhouse Grower, Mid-September 2011.
There are two forms of trademark rights in the US: common law and federal rights. Common law rights are based upon actual use of a mark in commerce and extend to the locations where a mark has actually been used. An organization who wants to provide notice of their common law rights may use the ™ symbol with the mark.
“Its not-just-patents-pvp” SeedWorld, January 2018