The US patent office ruled on Wednesday that hotly disputed patents on the revolutionary genome-editing technology CRISPR-Cas9 belong to the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, dealing a blow to the University of California in its efforts to overturn those patents.

In a one-sentence judgment by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, the three judges decided that there is “no interference in fact.” In other words, key CRISPR patents awarded to the Broad beginning in 2014 are sufficiently different from patents applied for by UC that they can stand. The judges’ full 51-page decision explaining their reasoning stated that the Broad had persuaded them “that the parties claim patentably distinct subject matter.”

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  • Too bad the scientists can’t “play nice” for the advantage of all humans but greed, the all mighty dollar, is the causative agent of turmoil between the scientists and the drive for fame.

    • Need to capitalise only the acronyms in your sentence. The answer: clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats.

  • This reminds me of the ruling in the previous century, about patenting the integrated circuit. That was arguably the most important invention of the twentieth century. Robert Noyce and Jack Kilby had each invented different methods of making an integrated circuit. Essentially all integrated circuits in common use were based on Noyce’s method, but the US judicial system said that Kilby’s patent prevailed.

    It will be interesting to see whether scientists using CRISPR will see this decision as a similar screwup.

    • The difference here is that most uses of CRISPR in mammalian cells use the Feng Zhang system (at least as far as I can tell). It’s understandable to think the opposite is true – the article certainly leads one to believe that – but the vectors that are actually used in a lot of research, and the papers being cited more often, are those of Feng Zhang.

      Anyway, all on the same team and so on and so on. Go Humans! Go Science! Hooray Hooray!

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