Intellectual Property » MIT Big Winner In Billion-Dollar Patent Dispute

MIT Big Winner In Billion-Dollar Patent Dispute

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February 16, 2017

The U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board handed the team of scientists based at the Broad Institute and MIT a major victory this week, awarding them the patent for using a system called Crispr-Cas9 in any living cell. The gene-editing technology could revolutionize medicine and agriculture, and be worth billions. CRISP-cas9 allows scientists to make precise changes to DNA, which will have major impacts on medical therapies, research tools and crop varieties. Research collaborators Jennifer Doudna at the University of California Berkeley and her European colleague Emmanuelle Charpentier, of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, found themselves on the losing side of the dispute. In their patent filing, the two detailed how to use CRISPR for bacteria. But, in a later filing, Feng Zhang at the Broad Institute, MIT and Harvard filed a patent application detailing how CRISPR could be used in the cells of higher organisms. Zhang’s patent went through the process faster, and was issued first. But when UC Berkeley’s patent came up for a decision it created interference. After the Patent Trial and Appeals Board’s ruling, UC Berkeley said it is reviewing the 51-page decision and considering whether to appeal.

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