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Molecular IP
Intellectual Property for Life Sciences, Chemistry and Biotechnology
Human Genetic Engineering Patents – Update on CRISPR Dispute
February 16, 2017

In an update to Steven M. Kellner’s Molecular IP post, CRISPR: The Biotechnology Dispute of This Century, the United States Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has come down on a decision regarding the CRISPR patents.

The PTAB has ruled that there is no interference in fact between CRISPR patent applications owned by the Broad Institute and those owned by University of California, Berkeley. In simple terms, this means that the Broad’s use of CRISPR in eukaryotic cells does not overlap with Berkeley’s use of CRISPR in prokaryotic cells.

The ruling is a win for Broad, which asked for a finding of no interference. Broad will keep its patents over the use of CRISPR in eukaryotic cells, which could have a huge impact on genetic engineering in humans and other animals. Berkeley’s patent applications will go back to the examiners, and patents are likely to issue covering prokaryotic CRISPR technology.

Berkeley has issued a statement maintaining their position that their inventors were the first “to invent this technology for use in all settings and all cell types” and the first “to publish and file patent applications directed toward that invention.” In addition, Berkeley contends that its claims to CRISPR are broad enough to cover its use in any organism, including humans. For now, Berkeley is  considering its options, which include appealing the decision to the courts. The story continues.

The full order from the PTAB is available here. The “Decision on Motions,” which sets forth the PTAB’s reasoning, is not yet available. We will post it when it is made available.

For additional information, please contact Volpe and Koenig, P.C.