Forbes, February 6, 2017
George Anders

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The most lucrative mobile apps have already been built. The odds of developing breakthrough new medicines get tougher all the time. But America's most ingenious minds aren't backing down. Instead, they are flocking to a new area -- marijuana-related technology -- where a patent-filing spree is under way.

Some 266  marijuana-related patents have been approved in the U.S., and another 255 are pending, according to a new analysis by Envision IP, a Raleigh, N.C., patent-research firm. These filings cover everything from proprietary hybrid strains of cannabis, to "clean and efficient growing systems, software-based analytics and monitoring, and packaging and distribution infrastructure."

Nearly half that activity has come in the past three years, as the pace of patent-filing activity has more than quadrupled from levels a decade ago. By Envision IP's tally, nearly 20 companies now hold cannabis-related patents.  [...]

biotechnology health law policy innovation intellectual property pharmaceuticals regulation