The cannabis industry in Brazil has undergone significant changes in recent years. Due to the progressive dissemination of scientific data proving the efficacy and safety of the use of cannabis, the discussion around the legalization and medicinal use of the Cannabis sativa plant has gained more and more space in Brazilian society, provoking heated debates and awakening the interest of various sectors.

Regarding the medical use of cannabis, Brazil took an important step in 2015, when the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA) approved the regulation of the use of cannabis-based products for patients with a medical prescription. This measure allowed patients with specific health conditions, such as refractory epilepsy, autism, chronic pain and cancer, for example, to have access to medicines containing cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), substances present in the plant.

Despite this, access to cannabis-based products in Brazil still faces obstacles, as result of too much bureaucracy and lack of options in the domestic market. Many patients depend on importing these therapeutic products, which can be a time-consuming and costly process.

Current Scenario

In Brazil, the sale and production of cannabis-based products is allowed, but pharmaceutical companies are obliged to import the active ingredients used in formulations, since the cultivation of Cannabis sativa plant is not currently permittedallowed. Furthermore, any advertising of cannabis products is prohibited in Brazil.

The good news is that the Brazilian legislation is currently being reviewed to make access to cannabis-based products more viable for the population.

Intellectual Property

The number of filings for patent applications on cannabis-related inventions has increased significantly in recent years, as this industry progressively develops.

In Brazil, the examination of patent applications related to cannabis follows the same principles and procedures applied to any other invention. That is, for a cannabis-based invention to be patented in Brazil, it must meet the basic patentability requirements, which include novelty, inventive activity and industrial application.

For example, patent protection is possible in respect of processes for obtaining transgenic plants; compositions/formulations comprising biological materials exactly as found in nature and at least one further component (excipient/carrier) that does not represent a mere dilution of a non-patentable subject matter; therapeutic uses of cannabis/cannabis derivatives, among others.

It is important to highlight two main obstacles that applicants may face during the examination of cannabis technology in Brazil:

  • natural plants and parts thereof are not eligible for patent protection in Brazil, as they are not considered to be inventions; and
  • genetically modified plants are not considered to be patentable in Brazil.

Multidisciplinary team

With a full understanding of the complex and interrelated issues that can arise from this matter, Daniel Law provides a multidisciplinary team comprising patent and trademark specialists combined with regulatory expertise to help you to succeed in the cannabis industry.

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