Lab notebooks might determine CRISPR patent rights


One of the most revolutionary technologies invented for genome engineering is the subject of a major legal battle with billion dollar implications. This technology, called CRISPR-Cas9, acts as a tool to cut and paste DNA with exquisite precision and ease. It has revolutionized cloning and has unparalleled implications in gene therapy to treat diseases as well.

In a legal request filed on Monday, the University of California has asked the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to establish who invented CRISPR-Cas9. Last year, more than ten patents were issued to MIT/Harvard Broad Institute, Massachusetts. However, University of California and two co-petitioners (including the University of Vienna) claim that this hugely valuable right should belong to them. If this request for “patent-interference” is approved it will set up a winner-takes-all challenge leaving their rival empty handed. CRISPR-Cas9 was first described by Jennifer Doudna, University of California, Berkeley and Emmanuelle Charpentier…

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