Jenner & Block

Firm Argues High-Stakes Case Regarding Who Owns Gene-Editing Technology

Partner Steven R. Trybus recently argued before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board in a high-profile case that could determine who owns the patent for a groundbreaking gene-editing technology. The technology at issue is called CRISPR, which has revolutionized the field of gene editing by allowing scientists to remove and replace genes in a manner that is easier and more effective than previously thought possible.  The firm represents the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.  The Broad Institute’s position is that its patents on the use of CRISPR to edit animal and human cells don’t overlap with the patent applications of a research team from the University of California – Berkeley and the University of Vienna.  On December 6, 2016, Mr. Trybus argued before a three-judge panel that the UC-Berkeley/University of Vienna researchers had not shown how the system would work in eukaryotic cells, and, therefore, Broad deserved its separate patent status. In addition to Mr. Trybus, the team representing the Broad Institute includes Partners Paul D. Margolis and Harry J. Roper and Associates Ren-How Harn and Susan A. O’Brien and Patent Agent Christine Falaschetti.  The hearing before the PTAB was covered by several media outlets, including Bloomberg Law (subscription required), BuzzFeed, The National Law Journal (subscription required), The Scientist, Stat, The Verge and The Wall Street Journal (subscription required).