Steep Hill wins IP court case with New Mexico, competing medical cannabis lab

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In a triumph involving intellectual property rights, California-based Steep Hill Labs won an emergency protective order against the state of New Mexico and a competitor over the disclosure of trade secrets.

Steep Hill filed suit in early April against the two entities after learning that Santa Fe-based Scepter Lab had obtained Steep Hill’s standard operating procedures from the state health department through an open records request in March. The Albuquerque Journal first reported the lawsuit.

New Mexico District Court Judge David Thomson ruled that the health department was prohibited from “further disclosure or dissemination of Steep Hill’s” procedures and also ordered that any copies of Steep Hill’s procedures and proprietary information be returned to the company.

Scepter owner Kathleen O’Dea, whose medical marijuana testing lab is one of only three in the state, wrote in an affidavit to the court that no one at her company had made any copies of Steep Hill’s procedures or proprietary information.

The Steep Hill-Scepter lawsuit is the latest in a growing number of intellectual property disputes in the cannabis space.

“This is a victory for the cannabis industry, assuring the State of New Mexico will protect trade secrets in the future,” Steep Hill attorney Jane Wright-Mitchell wrote in an email to Marijuana Business Daily.