CRISPR patent battle won by Broad Institute

Editas Medicine Inc, a leading genome editing company, announced today that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) affirmed the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) decision that ended the U.S. patent interference between the University of California, the University of Vienna, and Emmanuelle Charpentier and the Broad Institute, Inc. concerning certain CRISPR/Cas9 patents Editas Medicine exclusively licenses from Broad.

This favourable action by the CAFC upholds the USPTO decision issued in February 2017, granting Broad’s motion for no interference-in-fact.

Katrine Bosley, President and Chief Executive Officer of Editas Medicine said: “We are pleased with the Federal Circuit’s decision affirming the Patent Trial and Appeal Board decision on the patents that were granted to the Broad Institute for its innovative and fundamental work on CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing.”

Editas Medicine’s foundational intellectual property includes issued patents covering fundamental aspects of both CRISPR/Cas9 and CRISPR/Cpf1 (also known as CRISPR/Cas12a) gene editing.

Editas Medicine
The action by the CAFC upholds the USPTO decision issued in February 2017, granting Broad’s motion for no interference-in-fact.

The patents broadly cover CRISPR/Cas9 and CRISPR/Cpf1 gene editing in eukaryotic cells, which includes all human cells.

“This decision is highly favourable for Editas and for the Broad as it reaffirms the strength of our intellectual property foundation and has profound implications for making CRISPR medicines.” – Katrine Bosley, President and Chief Executive Officer of Editas.

Successfully editing this cell type is essential to making CRISPR-based medicines.

Overall, the Company holds a wide range of fundamental intellectual property directed to all of the components of its genome editing platform as well as product-enabling and product-specific intellectual property.

In 2014, the USPTO granted the first of several foundational patents to Broad with broad claims covering CRISPR/Cas9 in eukaryotic cells.

In 2016, the USPTO declared an interference proceeding between Broad and UC that involved several of Broad’s issued CRISPR patents.

While scientists in both groups had made important scientific contributions to the field, this proceeding was initiated by the USPTO to determine which of the two groups first invented the use of CRISPR/Cas9 for editing DNA in eukaryotic cells.

In February 2017, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the USPTO determined that the patent claims that had been granted to Broad were separately patent-able from, and thus, do not interfere with, the claims of the UC application.

This ruling ended the interference proceeding and upheld Broad’s fundamental CRISPR/Cas9 patents as originally granted. Today’s decision affirms that USPTO decision from February 2017.

The Broad patents continue to be valid and in force. Claims covering the use of CRISPR/Cas9 for gene editing in eukaryotic cells have also issued to Broad as patents in each of the United States, Europe, and Australia.

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