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Colorado medical marijuana companies embroiled in federal patent dispute

A Colorado cannabis company has filed a patent-infringement lawsuit in Denver federal court claiming a rival stole its cannabinoid medical product formula.

United Cannabis Corporation of Golden (UCANN) filed the lawsuit in Denver U.S. District Court Monday against Pure Hemp Collective Inc. of Conifer. The lawsuit seeks an injunction prohibiting Pure Hemp from copying its formulas that are part of the so-called “911 Patent.”

UCANN is also seeking triple damages against Pure Hemp on the basis that its actions are “willful,” according to the lawsuit filed by Broomfield attorney Orion Armon.

Colorado medical marijuana companies embroiled in federal patent dispute

A message seeking comment left with Pure Hemp on Tuesday was not immediately returned.

UCANN is a biotechnology company that develops cannabis as a medicine and owns a federal patent for “highly enriched extracts of plant cannabinoids,” the lawsuit says. UCANN’s phytocannabinoid therapies treat diseases including chronic pain, paralysis, Crohn’s Disease, glaucoma, autism and cancer by imitating compounds in the human body, the lawsuit says. Over the course of decades, UCANN has developed proprietary liquid formulations of enriched extracts of plant cannabinoids, it says.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved a cannabis-based drug for the first time in June 2018 after concluding the abuse risk is negligible, the lawsuit says.

“Defendant Pure Hemp is a wellness company that makes, markets and sells a variety of cannabis products. Upon information and belief, some of these products are comprised of cannabinoid formulations identical to the inventions claimed in the ’911 Patent,” the lawsuit claims.

UCANN bought Pure Hemp’s Vina Bell product and ran chemical composition tests to see whether the cannabinoid formulations are covered by the 911 Patent and determined that it “directly infringes,” the lawsuit says.

On Aug. 15, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued the 911 Patent called “cannabis extracts and methods of preparing and using same,” the lawsuit says. The patent application had been filed two years earlier.

“The risk of infringement was either known by Pure Hemp or so obvious to it that the risk should have been known to Pure Hemp,” the lawsuit says.

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