A Conversation with Graham Pechenik and Chris Byrnes


Wednesday, January 19th, 2022 from 12:00-1:30pm PST

The protection of intellectual property (IP) inside the burgeoning market for psychedelics and psychedelic-assisted therapy is prompting important debate and discussion. How are companies patenting medicines that have been used for millennia? Does copyright of guidelines for psychedelic-assisted therapy prohibit people from using those guidelines without a license? What role can trademarks, appellations of origin, and geographical indicators play in creating certifications for guides and products? Can IP be used to improve access to knowledge, access to medicine, and reciprocity with historically marginalized communities? Join a discussion and ask-me-anything (AMA) forum with IP attorneys Graham Pechenik and Chris Byrnes. The discussion will address the legal and economic rationales for the existence of different types of IP, provide an overview of innovative uses of IP in the psychedelics market, and contemplate the ways in which web3 technology can be used to create a psychedelic IP commons. Along the way, we’ll invite questions from attendees and endeavor to answer all that you ever wanted to know about psychedelic patents and IP.

Graham Pechenik is a registered patent attorney, and the founder of Calyx Law. He has a BS from UC San Diego, where he chose his Cognitive Neuroscience and Biochemistry majors after his first psychedelic experiences inspired deep curiosity about the bases for changes in consciousness, and a JD from NYU, where he initially pursued interests in bioethics and cognitive liberty. After a decade at large law firms representing companies in the agricultural, chemical, pharmaceutical, biotech, and technology industries, including litigating patents at trial and on appeal, Graham started Calyx Law to work with cannabis and psychedelics ventures. Graham is also editor-at-large of Psilocybin Alpha, where he writes about psychedelics IP, provides data for patent trackers, and helps maintain a psychedelics legalization and decriminalization tracker, and he is a member of Chacruna’s Council for the Protection of Sacred Plants. He was raised in Oakland, CA, and currently lives in San Francisco.

Chris Byrnes is a registered patent attorney at Calyx Law, intellectual property risk advisor, and folk artist at Performing Pro Arts Commons. He has worked at the intersection of intellectual property, international trade, and public policy for Fortune 500 companies, non-profit organizations, and artists for over 15 years, focusing on patent litigation, licensing, and IP commoning. He has a JD from Georgetown Law, a Master’s of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, a Creative Commons Certificate for educators, and undergraduate studies in Physics, Astronomy, and World Religions at Denison University.

Azadeh Momenghalibaf (she/her) is a health justice activist with over 15 years of experience in social justice philanthropy and global public health advocacy. Since 2011, she served as Senior Program Officer at the Open Society Foundations to advance access to medicines as a human right. In this role she supported and worked alongside leading global advocates, experts and movements focused on centering and reclaiming justice, equity and the public good into a pharmaceutical system that too often prioritizes profit over public health.  Her work has included advocacy to secure global, equitable access to medicines—from COVID-19 vaccines to HIV and Hepatitis C treatments—through intellectual property reform and corporate accountability campaigns. Momenghalibaf holds a MSc in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

This talk will be recorded and immediately available for rewatch for all attendees.

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