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Precision Biosciences Says USPTO to Reexamine Additional Cellectis Patents

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Precision Biosciences said today that the US Patent and Trademark Office has granted the firm's request to reexamine a pair of US patents that Cellectis has asserted against Precision in ongoing patent-infringement litigation.

The patents, US Nos. 6,610,545 and 7,309,605, deal with DNA vectors that can be used in gene mapping and site-directed gene insertion. Cellectis has a license to the patents, which are owned by the Institut Pasteur and Universite Pierre et Marie Curie.

Precision said that it filed requests seeking inter partes reexamination of the '545 and '605 patents on the grounds that their claims are obvious in view of several references that had not been previously considered by the patent examiners.

On Sept. 17, the USPTO granted Precision's request for a reexamination and issued initial rejections of all 21 reexamined claims in the '545 patent, and all 17 claims in the '605 patent, Precision said.

The patents belong to a family of 13 issued US patents. In July, Precision said that the USPTO granted reexaminations of two other patents in the family, Nos. 7,214,536 and 6,833,252. Those reexaminations are ongoing.

Precision also said that it is currently evaluating whether it will request reexamination of the remaining patents in the family.

In March 2008, Cellectis, based in Paris, filed suit against Research Triangle Park, NC-based Precision BioSciences for allegedly infringing the '605 and '545 patents. The patents specifically describe methods of using Group I intron encoded endonucleases to produce a site-directed double-stranded break in DNA to promote genetic recombination in organisms.

Cellectis maintains that Precision's Directed Nuclease Editor technology infringes the patents because it is intended for use by others to induce site-directed double-stranded breaks in the DNA of an organism.

Precision has countered that its technology is different from that described in the patents because they are genetically engineered endonucleases with altered specificities.

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