Jenner & Block

Jenner & Block Wins Victory in High-Profile Gene-Editing Technology Dispute

A team of Jenner & Block patent lawyers won a victory before the US Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) in a highly watched case regarding 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’s client is The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, which argued that its patents on the use of CRISPR to edit animal and human cells do not overlap with the patent applications of a research team from the University of California - Berkeley and the University of Vienna.  

In December, Partner Steven R. Trybus argued before a three-judge PTAB 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.

On February 15, 2017, the PTAB ruled that the patents do not interfere.  “Specifically,” the opinion reads, “the evidence shows that the invention of such systems in eukaryotic cells would not have been obvious over the invention of CRISPR-Cas9 systems in any environment, including in prokaryotic cells or in vitro, because one of ordinary skill in the art would not have reasonably expected a CRISPR-Cas9 system to be successful in a eukaryotic environment. This evidence shows that the parties’ claims do not interfere.”

In addition to Mr. Trybus, the team included Partners Paul D. Margolis and Harry J. Roper, Associates Ren-How H. Harn and Susan A. O’Brien and Patent Agent Christine Falaschetti.

Please click here for a statement from The Broad Institute about the PTAB decision.