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CAS
Center for Policy Studies
Public Affairs Discussion Group

Patenting Pot


Craig A. Nard J.D., L.L. M., J.S.D. - Galen A. Roush Professor of Law and Director, Spangenberg Center for Law, Technology and the Arts at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law
Friday October 27, 2017
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Dampeer Room
Kelvin Smith Library
*
Case Western Reserve University

Dear Colleagues:

As Professor Nard has written, "it's hard to make sense of cannabis regulation." Under federal law, Marijuana is a Schedule I drug, comparable to LSD and heroin. But it's legal in eight states for recreational use and in 29 (plus D.C.) for medical purposes.

That would be strange enough, but at least is a conflict of laws between different governments. The same federal government that outlaws cannabis, however, has also issued, "dozens of patents related to cannabinoids and various strains of cannabis, including ones on marijuana-laced lozenges, plant-breeding techniques and methods for making pot-spiked beverages." The Department of Health and Human Services even received a patent, in 2003, on a method of administering a therapeutically effective amount of cannabinoids, covering potential use to protect the brain from damage caused by certain diseases. The NIH has licensed its patent to pharmaceutical manufacturers, even as the DEA declares cannabis has no medicinal use.

Aside from the fact that one branch of the federal government is directly contradicting another, patenting pot raises many further issues. For example, why is it possible to patent a living thing anyway? How can patents on illegal things be enforced? Will patents be used by deep-pocketed companies to dominate the market? And who will end up suing whom, about what? Please join us as Professor Nard discusses a curious issue at the intersection of law, economics, and politics.

All best regards,
Joe White
Luxenberg Family Professor of Public Policy and Director, Center for Policy Studies

About Our Guest

Craig A. Nard is the Galen J. Roush Professor of Law and the Director of the Spangenberg Center for Law, Technology & the Arts. He is also a Senior Lecturer at the World Intellectual Property Organization Academy at the University of Torino, Italy, and Principal Advisor to the Center for Studies and Research in Intellectual Property in Calcutta, India.

Nard practiced intellectual property law in Dallas, Texas prior to becoming the Julius Silver Fellow in Law, Science, and Technology at Columbia University School of Law. After his fellowship, he clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C. for the Honorable Helen W. Nies, and then the Honorable Giles S. Rich. Nard has published in various law reviews, including the Northwestern Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, Minnesota Law Review, Illinois Law Review, Boston University Law Review, Indiana Law Journal, Harvard Journal of Law & Technology, Review of Law & Economics, William & Mary Law Review, and the Wake Forest Law Review. He is also the author of the patent law casebook, The Law of Patents (Aspen Publishers 3d Ed. 2014), and The Law of Intellectual Property (Aspen Publishing - 4th Ed. (2014) (with Madison and McKenna).


Where We Meet

The Friday Public Affairs Lunch convenes each Friday when classes are in session, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Our programs are open to all and no registration is required. We usually meet in the Dampeer Room of Kelvin Smith Library.

* Kelvin Smith Library requires all entrants to show identification when entering the building, unless they have a university i.d. that they can magnetically scan. We are sorry if that seems like a hassle, but it has been Library policy for a while in response to security concerns. Please do not complain to the library staff at the entrance, who are just doing their jobs.

The Dampeer Room is on the second floor of the library. If you get off the elevators, turn right, pass the first bank of tables, and turn right again. Occasionally we need to use a different room; that will always be announced in the weekly e-mails.

Parking Possibilities

The most convenient parking is the lot underneath Severance Hall. We regret that it is not free. From that lot there is an elevator up to street level (labeled as for the Thwing Center); it is less than 50 yards from that exit to the library entrance. You can get from the Severance garage to the library without going outside. Near the entry gates - just to the right if you were driving out - there is a door into a corridor. Walk down the corridor and there will be another door. Beyond that door you'll find the entrance to an elevator which goes up to an entrance right inside the doors to Kelvin Smith Library.

Schedule of Friday Lunch Upcoming Topics and Speakers:

November 3: Cleveland's Muslim Community: History and Challenges. With Ramez Islambouli, Lecturer of Arabic and Islam; Adjunct Professor of Islamic Law; and President, Uqbah Mosque Foundation.

November 10: Lead Poisoning in Cleveland: Why, After All These Years? With Dorr Dearborn MD, Ph.D., Mary Ann Swetland Professor Emeritus and Department Chair Emeritus, Department of Environmental Health Sciences.

November 17: Digging Into Football and Voting With Data. With Andrew Healy Ph.D., Professor of Economics, Loyola Marymount University and Senior Strategist for Player Personnel, Cleveland Browns.

November 24: Thanksgiving Break

December 1: TBA

December 8: Environmental Policy in the Pruitt EPA. With Catherine J. LaCroix J.D., Adjunct Professor of Law.
October 23, 2017

If you would like to reply, submit items for inclusion, or not receive this weekly e-mail please send a notice to: padg@case.edu

Upcoming Events

Defending the Constitution in the Age of Trump

The Institute for Global Security Law and Policy Lecture, with Ben Wizner, J.D., Director, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project , Monday, November 6, 2017, 4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m., CWRU School of Law, Moot Courtroom (A59), 11075 East Blvd., Cleveland, Ohio 44106.

On the morning after the 2016 election, the ACLU took out a full-page advertisement in the New York Times with a simple message for the President-elect: “We’ll see you in court.” Whether warning or prediction, it was in fact something of an understatement; the ACLU has challenged Trump administration policies on multiple fronts. Ben Wizner will discuss the state of civil liberties in the age of Trump and whether our existing institutions can withstand the challenge of a norm-breaking presidency.

Ben Wizner is the director of the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project. For nearly 15 years, he has worked at the intersection of civil liberties and national security, litigating numerous cases involving airport security policies, government watch lists, surveillance practices, targeted killing, and torture. He appears regularly in the global media, has testified before Congress, and is an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law. Since July of 2013, he has been the principal legal advisor to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Ben is a graduate of Harvard College and New York University School of Law and was a law clerk to the Hon. Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.


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