Broad Institute loses round in CRISPR patent dispute

Out-Law News | 20 Jan 2020 | 9:45 am | 1 min. read

The Broad Institute of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has lost the latest round of a major patent dispute concerning rights to commercialise the gene editing technology CRISPR.

The European Patent Office's Board of Appeal (BoA) has ruled that a European patent owned by the Broad Institute for CRISPR be revoked after it dismissed the institution's claims over its patent's priority date.

The EPO confirmed the outcome of the BoA proceedings in a statement.

Usually, a patent’s filing date is the date at which its validity is assessed. Sometimes, however, the patent may claim an earlier date, the priority date, from a previous patent application disclosing the invention.

In this case, the priority date for the patent was particularly important as there are other institutions and researchers that claim to have made discoveries on CRISPR prior to the Broad Institute.

The Broad Institute has been in a long-running battle over the ownership of rights in CRISPR with other institutions and researchers, including the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), the University of Vienna and French genetics professor Emmanuelle Charpentier, in both the EU and US.

Asawari Churi, a member of the life sciences team at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said: "While the Broad Institute has lost this patent, there are other patents belonging not only to Broad but also UCB and other players that are undergoing opposition before the EPO, not to mention applications that are still pending. So although the Broad Institute has lost this battle, the CRISPR patent war is still very much ongoing."