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CRISPR/Cas9 U.S. patent board decision appealed

Friday, April 14, 2017

CRISPR Therapeutics, Intellia Therapeutics, Caribou Biosciences and ERS Genomics announced that The Regents of the University of California, the University of Vienna and Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier (collectively UC), co-owners of foundational intellectual property relating to CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering, have appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (the Federal Circuit) the decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) to terminate the interference between certain CRISPR/Cas9 patent claims owned by UC and patents and patent applications owned by the Broad Institute, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (collectively Broad).

In the appeal, UC is seeking review and reversal of the PTAB’s February 15, 2017 decision, which terminated the interference without determining which inventors actually invented the use of the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology in eukaryotic cells. In its decision, the PTAB concluded that, although the claims overlap, the respective scope of UC and Broad’s claim sets as presented did not define the same patentable invention and, accordingly, terminated the interference without deciding which party first invented the use of the CRISPR/Cas9 technology in eukaryotic cells. UC is asking the Federal Circuit to review and reverse the PTAB’s decision.

In parallel with the appeal, UC is pursuing applications in the U.S. and other jurisdictions worldwide to obtain patents claiming the CRISPR/Cas9 technology and its use in non-cellular and cellular settings, including eukaryotic cells. Corresponding patents have already been granted in the U.K., and the European Patent Office is also granting a patent to UC, which will issue on May 10, 2017. UC’s earliest patent application describing the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology and its use was filed on May 25, 2012, while the Broad’s earliest patent application was filed more than six months later, on December 12, 2012.

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