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Dr. Mike McCormick: It's Time to Protect Your Cannabis IP

Why you need to consider plant patents, especially if you are working in cannabis plant genetics or a grower who does extensive work on strains.

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This week, Dr. Mike McCormick, VP of strategy at FloraWorks, joins the Cannabis Equipment News podcast to discuss why you need to consider plant patents, especially if you are working in cannabis plant genetics or a grower who does extensive work on strains.

Dr. Mike McComick has been interested in cannabis his entire adult life, down to the science of the plant. A scientist by training, he has undergrad degrees in chemistry and biochemistry from the University of Michigan and a PhD in chemistry from MIT. 

McCormick started his career in cannabis research. After MIT, he moved to San Diego and took a postdoctoral position with the Scripps Research Institute where he worked on cannabinoid receptors, studying their structure and function.

While his work was fulfilling, it wasn’t as lucrative as he hoped, so McCormick moved into pharmaceutical chemistry, working for patent law firms and helping attorneys obtain patents on pharmaceutical drugs and processes.

His work in pharma helped fill his coffers a bit, but he realized that he missed the cannabis industry. So, he took his wealth of knowledge and started consulting in cannabis about seven years ago. He helped cannabis startups and research groups execute technology transfer whereby innovations in academia are spun out of universities and commercialized. He most recently took a position as VP of strategy at FloraWorks, a biotech firm based in Oregon.

According to McCormick, the cannabis industry is rife with opportunities for patent coverage, but too many operators steer clear because it costs a lot of money and it takes a long time. He say industry stakeholders often fail to have a long enough lens, choosing to get paid today for what is coming out tomorrow, and potentially missing out on a more rewarding long term play. 

McCormick says cannabis remains an untapped crockpot of potential drugs and he stresses that, if you are working in cannabis plant genetics or a grower who performs extensive work on your strains, you need to consider plant patents to protect your intellectual property (IP). 

Jump around: 

  • When he opened his eyes to the true potential of the cannabis plant. (5:37)
  • Cannabis compounds that didn't make it to market. (8:36)
  • Why he moved into patent law for the money. (10:20)
  • How he was pulled back into cannabis. (12:06)
  • Opportunities for cannabis companies and scientists to obtain patent coverage. (14:16)
  • The types of patents available in the world of cannabis science. (16:16)
  • How cannabis operators lose opportunities to secure a patent. (20:37) 
  • The artful ways of carving around patent law. (23:50)
  • Why the "sky's the limit" for cannabis' therapeutic use. (27:37)
  • Gaping holes in cannabis regulation. (31:41)
  • Why he joined FloraWorks. (33:21)
  • Opportunities for tech transfer in cannabis. (37:37)
  • What he looks for in an academic partner. (39:26)
  • The extreme untapped potential hidden in the cannabis plant. (47:12)
  • Why psychedelics are surpassing the cannabis industry from a patent perspective. (50:35)

Please make sure to like, subscribe and share the podcast. You could also help us out by giving the podcast a positive review. Finally, to email the podcast or suggest a potential guest, you can reach David Mantey at [email protected].

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