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Appellate judges in the US who are hearing the gene editing patent case appear split, Reuters reports.

The Broad Institute and the University of California, Berkeley, along with the University of Vienna, have been battling over which holds patents related to CRISPR. Researchers from Berkeley and Vienna jointly applied for a CRISPR patent in 2012, while Broad researchers applied a few months later, though under a fast-track review, which led it to be awarded a CRISPR patent in 2014. As GenomeWeb notes, these patents were filed under the old US "first to invent" system, rather than the "first to file" system implemented in 2013

In 2015, Berkeley and Vienna asked the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to initiate an interference proceeding, saying that the Broad patents covered the same invention as their own. However last February, a three-judge PTAB panel issued a judgment of no interference-in-fact, a blow against the University of California, as GenomeWeb reported at the time. It said it found the Broad's argument that its use of CRISPR in eukaryotic cells made its application distinct convincing.

The University of California appealed this decision, leading to the hearing that took place yesterday. Reuters reports that one member of the three-member panel says she will likely side with the Broad, while the others haven't indicated how they would rule. In statements, both the Broad and the University of California say they are confident with their chances, Reuters adds.