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Patent pledge and statement

Journey Colab is an intentionally non-traditional startup that is developing evidence-based psychedelic therapeutics for addiction, and also working to enable a broader healing economy that includes on-the-ground specialists, the infrastructure to support them, and community support. In order to protect this vision and succeed in its overall mission, Journey Colab has leveraged various strategies, including filing patent applications. 

One family of applications is built around the use of Journey Colab’s novel form of synthetic mescaline to treat patients with alcohol use disorder, who are in desperate need of durable remission from this chronic, relapsing condition. Synthetic mescaline is not sourced from the endangered peyote cactus, but is made in a laboratory, and provides an alternative that shifts the burden away from the natural resource that Indigenous communities rely on. Journey Colab has filed several applications to protect these inventions, and the first will publish in December.

Pursuing patents on psychedelics, and in particular those with a long history of use like mescaline, has stirred controversy and criticism, much of which Journey Colab agrees with. Thus, in crafting a patent strategy, our wish is for it to embody our same commitment to the ethical stewardship of mescaline as our general approach to developing mescaline for the market, which is in alignment with the goal of reciprocity and benefit sharing.   

At Journey Colab, we do not believe patenting truly novel inventions is inherently wrong, and we understand that investors should be rewarded for the risk and time involved in developing medicines for regulatory approval. Otherwise, these treatments might not reach patients at all.

At the same time, we recognize that patents can be used to exclude practices which are properly in the public domain. With plant medicines for example, one may feel concern that a patent on the naturally-occurring compound could turn all use of the natural product into infringement. We also understand that patents can chill certain activities, even if the patents are not meant to be applied to them. For instance, in the context of patented traditional medicines, those leading or participating in the ceremonial use of those medicines may be right to feel hesitation or concern.

And while these concerns may be unjustified based on the intent of the inventors or the original patent applicant, patents often change hands, and many ultimately find their way into those of a company whose very goal is to assert patents on activities not previously meant to be infringing. 

Journey Colab wishes to dispel each of these concerns. This pledge has been inspired by our consultation process with Indigenous communities, which is detailed in our White Paper. Our intent is never to assert our patents on mescaline against the non-commercial use of naturally-derived mescaline and mescaline-containing plants, or on certain ceremonial and traditional practices, including and in particular the Indigenous use of peyote. Moreover, our intent is that all future patent owners must be bound in the same manner. 

To clarify these intentions and render them enforceable, Journey Colab makes a binding and irrevocable promise, which is set forth in its Patent Non-Assertion Pledge published today. 

We, Journey Colab Corp. and the inventors of the Pledged Patents (together, “Pledgors”), believe in economic engagement that promotes reciprocity and benefit sharing, preservation of cultural values, and conservation of natural resources. Pledgors recognize and wish to honor that mescaline-containing plants, and in particular peyote, have a clear and established history of traditional use, and that peyote continues to have important cultural and religious significance to many Native American and Indigenous communities.

Accordingly, Pledgors commit to protect certain sacramental, religious, spiritual, ceremonial, and other traditional forms of access to mescaline and peyote, and to ensure that the exclusivity provided by any patent granted upon Pledgors’ inventions will not encroach upon such access, or upon other practices that are properly in the public domain.

The inventions described in all of Pledgors’ patent applications that claim compositions and uses of mescaline, and any patents that issue to protect them (“Pledged Patents”), are therefore intended to be governed by the binding promise set forth below (“Pledge”). 

Our pledge

Pledgors promise to any person or entity that uses peyote or another mescaline-containing plant, any natural preparation made therefrom, or any naturally-derived mescaline isolated or obtained therefrom, for non-commercial purposes, and to Indigenous communities and practitioners who use mescaline for bona fide traditional ceremonial purposes, along with those in participation therewith (each, a “Pledge Recipient”), that Pledgors will not bring suit for infringement of a Pledged Patent. 

This Pledge shall be legally binding, irrevocable, and enforceable against Pledgors, entities controlled by Pledgors, and their successors and assigns, including all subsequent transferees, exclusive licensees, and others who may subsequently come into a position of effective ownership or control.
Exclusions, limitations, and defensive termination
This Pledge does not apply to infringement by the manufacture, sale, offer for sale, or importation of Pledgors’ synthetic mescaline, as described and claimed in the Pledged Patents, or by its use besides any ceremonial use as defined above. Except as expressly stated in the Pledge, no other rights are waived or granted by Pledgors, or received by a Pledge Recipient, whether by implication, estoppel, or otherwise. The Pledge automatically terminates as to a Pledge Recipient, and shall be as if never granted, if the Pledge Recipient threatens or initiates a patent proceeding or infringement suit against a Pledgor or another Pledge Recipient. For questions about the intention of the Pledge or its interpretation, including whether any activity would violate its terms, please contact Pledgors.
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