Does the Canopy CO2 extraction lawsuit pose a threat to others in the industry?

Canopy Growth’s quick action – filing a suit against GW Pharmaceuticals the day the patent was issued – coupled with the short time-frame for validity has left many worried that the company could go on an enforcement hunt and target any company using a CO2 method that it believes infringes on its intellectual property (IP).

There does appear to be some danger to other companies, though little they can realistically do to minimise it in the short timeframe in which the Canopy patent is valid. Patent law is messy and it is difficult to predict with any degree of accuracy how arguments in the case will be received.

Looking at the vaping industry for parallels, Fontem Venture’s long-running IP enforcement strategy produced results for the company with a string of licensing agreements signed with various companies unwilling to take on the uncertainty and potential larger expense of fighting claims in court.

Given the CO2 extraction method used by many companies is based on a similar process and equipment – though admittedly with a great degree of nuance possible in how that process is carried out – there does seem to be some scope for risk.

Canopy Growth has not made any further announcements on the patent issue since its December filing. But that does not mean that GW Pharmaceuticals will be its only target. Companies using a CO2 extraction method should be wary about a potential legal risk regardless of whether they think their method is similar to the issued patent or not.

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