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Crop Biotech Update

USPTO Releases Verdict on CRISPR Patent

February 22, 2017

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) released its decision on the issue of intellectual property rights to the gene-editing technique, CRISPR-Cas9. USPTO ruled that the Broad Institute of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge could keep their patents on using the technique in eukaryotic cells. This means that University of California, Berkeley, has lost their battle over the rights to CRISPR.

The battle started in 2012 when Jennifer Doudna and colleagues at Berkeley outlined how CRISPR could be used to precisely cut isolated DNA. The following year, Feng Zhang and colleagues at Broad Institute showed how CRISPR can be adapted to edit DNA in eukaryotic cells. According to Nature, the battle is not yet over because Berkeley can still appeal the ruling in the U.S. Furthermore, the same parties applied for patent in Europe and no decision has been announced to date.

Read more about this in Nature.