Appeals panel sides with the Broad Institute in a landmark case over who should own the rights to CRISPR, a gene editing technology transforming research.
An intense battle over the rights to a gene editing tool that is being used to do everything from creating transgenic models more efficiently to developing disease resistant crops appears to have ended, with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard the apparent winner.
In a two-page judgment three administrative judges of the US Patent and Trademark Office found “no interference-in-fact which neither cancels nor finally refuses either parties’ claims”—legalese that means the court did not consider the patents awarded to the Broad three years ago were significantly different from the ones being sought by University of Berkeley, the Broad’s opponent in the court case. The full explanation of the panel’s reasoning can be found here.
In its coverage of the landmark case, the online science magazine STAT noted that the court did not consider the early CRISPR research conducted by Berkeley biochemist Jennifer Doudna and her European colleague Emmanuelle Charpentier, who were the first to invent the system, to be “so all encompassing to make later advances obvious.” But the ruling is unlikely to settle the dispute entirely.
Last year, Charles River Laboratories launched a full, end-to-end service offering of CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering technology through a licensing arrangement with the Broad. Iva Morse, Corporate Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of Global Research Models and Services, says the the technology is transforming how scientists conduct their research. “Given the speed at which this technology continues to be adopted across a wide range of applications, it holds the potential to soon expand beyond research into the clinic to treat a broad range of human diseases, from cancer to hereditary genetic disorders.”