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The First Call

The CRISPR patent fight has flared up as lawyers representing the Broad Institute and the University of California as well as judges from the US Patent and Trademark Office held their first conference call, Stat News reports.

The patent suit centers around who first invented the CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing tool. The Broad's Feng Zhang filed his patent application on October 15, 2013, though claimed a December 12, 2012 priority date, and he was issued a patent April 15, 2014 after an accelerated review. The University of California, Berkeley's Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier, now at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, meanwhile, filed their patent application on March 15, 2013. UC then sought an interference proceeding.

According to Stat News, much of the recent conference call dealt with UC's claim that Zhang never had or used tracrRNA in any of his submitted filings. UC alleged in a motion that the "Broad withheld or misrepresented material information with the intent to deceive the USPTO" so that it would think that Zhang did more than he really did.

During the call, the Broad "strenuously" denied those claims, called them "unfounded," and further suggested that making those claims violated patent office rules.

Stat News adds that one of the judges asked during the call whether the two sides had discussed a settlement, but the parties replied that they had not.

A hearing has been tentatively scheduled for mid-November.

Filed Under


Sat, 03/19/2016 - 1:37am

Submitted by

What companies are likely to secure patents related to CRISPR?

Sun, 03/20/2016 - 12:17am

Submitted by aar12

The good guys

Sun, 03/20/2016 - 12:25am

Submitted by

Could you please name the "good guys?"

Sun, 03/20/2016 - 3:35pm

Submitted by c8asf5_2069740

The purpose of the conference call, and subsequent order from the
judges of PTAB, was to establish which motions may proceed. One should
understand that an interference is about PRIORITY, not about

The March 2016 order sent this message to UC/Doudna:

Though UC characterized this motion as threshold, it relates only to whether Broad’s claims are unpatentable over the prior art, not whether Broad has standing in the interference. Whether Broad’s claims are unpatentable over prior art is not dispositive of issues of priority. The interference may proceed to determine if UC was not the first to invent the common subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 102(g) even if Broad’s claims were held not to be patentable. Because UC suggested the interference it chose to challenge Broad’s claims in a priority contest instead of through another procedure. UC has not provided a sufficient reason why its prior art challenge to Broad’s claims should preempt the priority contest.

One may "win" on priority, but later lose on validity, as was the case
in the Sawyer/Man vs. Edison disputes over the electric light bulb.

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