Patents held by the MIT-Harvard Broad Institute for the use of the gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 have been upheld by a federal appeals court, potentially bringing to an end a battle between the institute and the University of California, Berkeley (UCB). UCB asserted that the Broad Institute’s patents impinged on areas covered by UCB’s patent applications. But the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board finding that Broad’s patents for the use of CRISPR in eukaryotic cells — found in animals, plants and humans – were sufficiently distinct from UCB’s applications for use of CRISPR in cell-free systems. The Broad Institute hailed the decision, saying, “It is time for all institutions to work together to enable the broadest possible sharing and licensing of foundational CRISPR (Intellectual Property) to accelerate research and improve human health.” Last year, the institute reached an agreement with DuPont Pioneer (now Corteva Agriscience) “to create a joint licensing framework for the use of CRISPR-Cas9 technology in agriculture, Broad said in October 2017. “Specifically, we’ve agreed to jointly provide non-exclusive licenses to intellectual property for use in commercial agricultural research and product development,” the institute said. UCB could appeal the decision to the Supreme Court, but its chances of obtaining review there are slim.
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