Cannabis firm Canopy Growth sues GW Pharma, claiming patent infringement

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Canadian cannabis producer Canopy Growth Corp. is suing Britain’s GW Pharmaceuticals in U.S. federal court, alleging that GW is knowingly infringing upon Canopy’s intellectual property.

GW uses a Canopy-patented method to extract the CBD that’s the active ingredient in its Epidiolex medication, according to a complaint filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.

The patent, U.S. Patent No. 10,870,632, covers a method of cannabinoid extraction using carbon dioxide.

Canopy, based in Smiths Falls, Ontario, said it acquired the intellectual property when it bought Germany’s C3 Cannabinoid Compound Co. in 2019 for more than $250 million.

The U.S. patent was issued to Canopy on Tuesday, the same day the lawsuit was filed.

However, Canopy alleges that GW Pharma “has been monitoring the (patent) family for over fourteen years” and is aware that its method for manufacturing Epidiolex infringes upon Canopy’s intellectual property.

Canopy’s court filing also said GW Pharma “declined a license” for a parent patent in 2017.

“This case is not about restricting patient access to Epidiolex,” the complaint said.

“Rather, Canopy brings this action to put a stop to GW’s knowing and unauthorized use of Canopy’s intellectual property. ”

Canopy is seeking damages for GW Pharma’s alleged patent infringement as well as enhanced damages because of the allegedly willful nature of the violation.

Epidiolex is the crown jewel of GW Pharma’s portfolio and has been approved by regulators in multiple jurisdictions for the treatment of certain seizure disorders.

U.S. sales of the CBD formulation comprised 87% of GW Pharma’s revenue for the quarter ended Sept. 30.

The United Kingdom-based company said in a statement emailed to Marijuana Business Daily that it was aware of the lawsuit.

“As a policy, we do not comment on any pending litigation except to say that based on our preliminary review of the complaint, we are confident in our position and will vigorously defend against this lawsuit,” GW Pharma noted in its statement.