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Precision Bio Says USPTO Issues Final Claims Rejecting Infringement Allegations by Cellectis

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Precision BioSciences today announced that in a reexamination proceeding the US Patent and Trademark Office has rejected claims by Cellectis that Precision infringed on four of its patents.

The USPTO issued its Final Decisions and Right of Appeal Notices in the reexamination of US Patent Nos. 6,833,252; 7,214,536; 6,610,545; and 7,309,605. The patents are owned by the Institut Pasteur and the Universite Pierre et Marie Curie and licensed to Cellectis.

In 2008, Cellectis sued Precision alleging it infringed on the '545 and '605 patents, which pertain to methods of using Group I intron-encoded endonucleases to produce a site-directed double-stranded break in DNA to promote genetic recombination in organisms.

After the suit was filed, however, the USPTO agreed to Precision's request to reexamine a number of Cellectis' patents, including the four patents named in today's announcement.

This past June, the USPTO issued "non-final" decisions that rejected all claims asserted by Cellectis against Precision. However, because it was "non-final" Cellectis could file comments to reconsider the claims and reopen prosecution.

Last month, the US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, where Cellectis' lawsuit was filed, suspended all proceedings in the lawsuit until USPTO finished its reexamination of the '545 and '605 patents.

In today's announcement, Precision said that USPTO's final decision rejects "every patent claim that was asserted against Precision in the litigation, as well as many related claims." Precision challenged 78 of Cellectis' patent claims, of which the USPTO rejected 77, it added. The remaining claim is "irrelevant to Precision's business," the Research Triangle, N.C.-based firm said.

Cellectis may appeal the USPTO's decision to the agency's Board of Patent of Appeals and Interferences. In an-email to GenomeWeb Daily News, a spokeswoman for Cellectis said that the Institut Pasteur has already filed appeals for the '536 and '252 patents and plans to do the same for the '545 and '605 patents.

"So actually these [USPTO] decisions are not bringing any change to the current situation," said Sylvie Delassus, senior vice president for corporate communications for Cellectis.

In a statement, Derek Jantz, vice president of scientific development for Precision, said that "Cellectis' attempt to win in the courtroom what it could not achieve in the marketplace has been an abject failure. If Cellectis wishes to compete with us, it may want to spend more money on research and less money on legal maneuvering."

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