Wednesday, 17 April, 2024
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University of California loses second gene-editing patent case

A second attempt by the University of California (UC) Berkeley to obtain lucrative patent rights to the gene-editing technology CRISPR were stymied again recently (28 February) when the US Patent and Trademark Office said MIT and Harvard’s Broad Institute were the first to apply the CRISPR tool to human cells.

The university, which has been trying for years to obtain the patent rights, is home to Jennifer Doudna, who won a 2020 Nobel Prize with Emmanuelle Charpentier for discovering the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technique, reports The Verge.

The technique, which revolutionised genetic research and biotech, lets scientists easily and precisely cut and reorder bits of DNA, changing how it codes for different functions. Doudna and her colleagues published the first paper on the CRISPR system in 2012, showing how it worked in a test tube. Then, in 2013, researchers at the Broad Institute published a paper on using CRISPR in the types of cells found in animals and people.

Both institutions filed for patents, and the Trademark Office initially awarded CRISPR patents to the Broad Institute in 2014. UC Berkeley contested the decision, and the PTO determined in 2017 that the patents from the two institutions were different enough that they could both stand. UC Berkeley appealed to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC, and lost that appeal.

The latest ruling was the result of another challenge UC Berkeley put before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in 2019. Once again, the Trademark officer sided with the Broad Institute.


The Verge article – UC Berkeley loses CRISPR patent case (Open access)


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CRISPR technology used to eliminate HIV virus in living mice


Chinese declare that gene-editing scientist is breaking the law


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American Gene Technologies HIV 'cure' claims are 'unjustified hype'


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