The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard will keep ownership of its revolutionary gene-editing CRISPR technology after US Court of Appeals rejected infringement claims on Monday. The long-standing battle leveled by creators of the CRISPR technology, University of California-Berkeley, was rejected, as the court ruled the Broad Institute’s patent proved its unique application of the technology.
The technology that targets and removes parts of a gene was invented by Berkeley scientists in 2012, and patents focused on the editing of RNA and DNA in small organisms were filed by the university that year. While the Broad Institute, who had their patent approved in 2017, filed for the use on more complex cells, like plants and animals.
This contested case highlights CRISPR’s lucrative potential for application in the biotech industry – with several companies having licensed technology from both groups already. The ruling allows both institutes to continue using the techniques and to exclusively license their technologies.
The European patent office had denied the Broad’s CRISPR/Cas9 patent earlier this year, however, The University of California was awarded a European patent broadly covering CRISPR/Cas9 technology.