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CRISPR Patent Ruling Upheld

A federal appeals court in the US has upheld a Patent Trial and Appeal Board judgment that gave the Broad Institute key CRISPR patents, as GenomeWeb has reported. This, it says, leaves the University of California and its co-litigants out.

UC-Berkeley's Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier, now at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, were the first to apply for a CRISPR patent, but a Harvard and Broad Institute team applied under a fast-track review process and became the first to receive a CRISPR patent, Reuters adds. This, it says, led the University of California and others to ask PTAB in 2015 for an interference proceeding, arguing that the Broad patent covered what was in their earlier application.

But, as GenomeWeb notes, a three-judge panel from PTAB issued a judgment of no interference-in-fact in February. The Broad, Reuters says, had argued that its patent differed because it described the use of CRISPR in eukaryotic cells. UC and their co-litigants appealed and the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has now upheld that finding, it adds.

"The consequence of this decision (assuming it is the final word) is that the status quo will remain: the Broad will maintain its extensive CRISPR patent portfolio and the University's patent application (reciting claims broader than the Broad's and encompassing CRISPR without regard to the cells in which it is practiced) should grant as a patent in due course," notes Kevin Noonan at Patent Docs.

According to NPR, though, the Broad says that it is now time for the litigants to work together, while UC says it is "evaluating other litigation options."