This week we’re going to look at a patent application outlining several different uses for cannabis not related to cannabinoids. The application was filed with the WIPO by John Philipps and hasn’t been filed anywhere on the national level. There is no company listed as part of the patent, I believe this hemp activist is the owner.
Starting with the abstract:
“Disclosed are systems, methods and uses of the cannabis sativa plant. Uses are comprised of industrial uses and applications, not included human consumption, such as the creation of bio fuel, papers, foods, consumer textiles, building materials, personal hygiene products, among others. Further applications include utilizing the cannabis sativa plant, or hemp, as an energy through the creation of bio fuel by cellulosic fermentation, gasification, and distillation among others.”
As the abstract outlines, the patent does contain methods for creating biofuels and textiles from cannabis, methods taken from processes we already apply to other plants. We’ve seen many examples of appropriating methodology from other industries and attempting to patent it for use on cannabis, with using cannabis being the claimed novelty of the invention. I talk about these kinds of patents not because they’re likely to get granted or ever have value, but because they outline a mentality that is often lost on executives running cannabis companies. Cannabis is a plant that we can use like other conventional crops, let’s compare those other crops to cannabis to find alternative revenue streams from cannabis.
This is a table from the patent comparing the potential of cannabis to conventional crops for the production of biofuels.
Low-cannabinoid trim and waste from stems is currently worthless with the glut of low-quality flower, why not repurpose the waste to biofuels instead of incinerating it?
Producing biofuels involves the biological or chemical breakdown of cellulose into simple sugars, then the conversion of those sugars to alcohol. Biofuel production has been broken down into different ‘generations’ based on when and how we first started producing biofuels. The methodology described in this patent is characteristic of second-generation feedstock and technology.
In summary this patent application has broad coverage over making biofuels from cannabis material but lacks novelty in the invention. The lack of novelty may be why the patent hasn’t been filed at the national level when it was published by the WIPO almost 7 years ago.