Patenting Pot: Can You Claim Your Strain?

person holding green canabis

Photo by Aphiwat chuangchoem on

By: Taylor Fairchild

It may be surprising, but the answer appears to be a resounding yes.

Conflicts Between State and Federal Law

In November of 2012, the Washington State Legislature successfully passed Initiative 502, which allowed for the use of recreational marijuana in the state. Washington became one of the first states, along with Colorado, to decriminalize recreational marijuana and many states followed suit. Seven years later, 33 states in the country have decriminalized medical marijuana, recreational marijuana, or both. In August of 2013, the United States Department of Justice announced it would not interfere with state level legalization, but required states to strictly regulate the distribution and sale of marijuana.

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Egypt vs. Christie’s: The Struggle Between the Art Market and Efforts of Cultural Repatriation

_107805303_mediaitem107805301By: Simrit Hans

The Egyptian government’s recent threat to sue the British auction house, Christie’s, for the return of an ancient sculpture encapsulates a familiar narrative regarding cultural property’s state of chaotic displacement. The argument on one side is that cultural items have been looted, improperly exported, and ought to be returned. The other side, however, argues that these demands for return are often built on ethical or political grounds rather than legal ones and are unreasonable because of the passage of time and difficulties tracing ancient art’s provenance.

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Please Steal Our Business Practices: Allbirds’ Novel Approach to Intellectual Property Theft

p-1-90407744-allbirds-to-amazon-donand8217t-copy-our-shoe-copy-our-eco-friendly-practicesBy: Alex Nelson

In just over five years, Allbirds Inc. successfully built a billion dollar company around what have been referred to as “the world’s most comfortable shoes.” Any discerning observer just needs to walk around tech cities like Seattle or San Francisco to see a small army of young professionals wearing the distinctive lightweight wool shoes. Allbirds provides sustainable wool athletic sneakers that are made almost entirely of natural materials. The company’s website specifies that the shoes are made using “materials that exist right in front of us” in order to reduce the environmental impact of the retail process. A standard pair of Allbirds contains recycled bottles, sugarcane stalks, and castor bean oil rather than inorganic materials that would have a larger environmental footprint. Additionally, Allbirds’ direct to consumer model allows them to utilize a box which functions as a shipping box and shoebox all in one. The box contains about 40% less material, is made of 95% recycled cardboard, and is 100% recyclable.

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Are Washington’s Sports Betting Laws Out of Touch?

photography of one us dollar banknotes

Photo by Burst on

By: Justin Brascher

Sports gambling is everywhere. When you watch ESPN, it is quite common for the night’s big game to scroll across the ticker on the bottom of the screen, with the point spread–a number only used for betting purposes– listed next to the teams playing in the game. But if betting on the game is illegal in thirty-nine states, then why is the number listed?

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Is the New USPTO Rule a Violation of the 14th Amendment?

This is a copy of the cover of the U.S. Constitution.

By: Emily Donohue

A trademark is a “word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.” Registered trademarks are both valuable assets to companies and helpful to potential consumers evaluating a purchase. Building goodwill with consumers takes time, and without the protection of a registered trademark, a company’s reputation could be tarnished by a competitor selling deceptively similar products or services of inferior value.

The recognizable trademark of a trusted brand signals to a consumer that their purchase will conform to the quality they expect from the brand. Conversely, if a brand has a poor reputation, a consumer knows to avoid the product. Considering the economic value of a properly registered trademark, one would assume that companies doing business in the United States take great care to ensure their trademarks are protected. However, the recently updated rule from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) implies otherwise.

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