In a conference call today discussing their most recent quarterly reports, Aurora Cannabis’ CEO Miguel Martin told shareholders to expect litigation in the future against companies growing their own proprietary genetics without their permission.
In response to a question about Aurora’s Science & Innovation business group—which includes their work on plant breeding and bio-synthetics— Martin referred to a partnership with Cronos in developing bio-synthetic production of cannabinoids, as well as providing the “Farm Gas” cultivar to micro cultivator North 40.
Martin claims shareholders will be able to see more of these partnerships in the future, and then added that the company has used “unique genetic markers” that gives the company legal protection around the use of those assets.
“There is a misconception amongst growers and LPs, both domestically and internationally, that you cannot protect or own the genetics around a particular cultivar. That’s completely untrue. We are licensing unique genetic markers of these cultivars that we develop and we are able to identify those that are infringing upon that and clearly the law is very clear on this issue and we’ll have a very strong case. You’ll start to see litigation around that as well as those that we believe have infringed on some of our bio-synthetic assets, and that’s also an additional revenue stream for the company.”
There are different avenues a company can take to protect genetic assets. In Canada, Plant Breeders’ Rights are a form of intellectual property rights by which plant breeders can protect their new varieties in the same way an inventor protects a new invention with a patent.
Before being granted plant breeders’ rights, new plant varieties must be evaluated to determine if they are distinct and unique, stable varieties.
Such rights have been issued for more than a dozen varieties in Canada, including several registered to Aurora Cannabis. Not all these Breeders’ Right’s are controlled by large companies. Rosebud Cannabis Farm, a relatively small, independent cannabis farm in BC has provisional approval for registration of their own “Sarah’s Secret“.