It was a tough day in US patent court for the University of California, Berkeley.
On 6 December, lawyers for the university laid out its claim to the gene-editing tool called CRISPR–Cas9 during a hearing at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) — and drew intense, sometimes skeptical, questioning from the three judges who will decide the fate of patents that could be worth billions of dollars.
Berkeley and its rival, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts, are each vying for the intellectual property underlying CRISPR–Cas9, which is adapted from a system that bacteria use to fend off viruses. During the hearing in Alexandria, Virginia, the USPTO judges challenged Berkeley’s central claim: that once its researchers demonstrated that CRISPR–Cas9 could be used to edit DNA in bacteria, any reasonably skilled person could have adapted the technique for use in more complex cells.
If the court decides that is true, it would invalidate the patent now held by the Broad Institute. But the Berkeley argument is a difficult one to make, given that it hinges on “a really subjective standard” — especially when applied to extraordinarily accomplished scientists such as those at Broad, says Jacob Sherkow, a legal scholar at New York Law School in New York City.
Continue reading on Nature...
Image via WikiMedia Commons
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always
been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such
material available in our efforts to advance understanding of
biotechnology and public policy issues. We believe this constitutes a
'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section
107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section
107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those
who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included
information for research and educational purposes. For more information
go to: http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107. If you wish to use
copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go
beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.