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UC Berkeley Appeals Broad Institute CRISPR Patent

“I tried to build the lab as a start up environment by putting together or recruiting people who are deeply passionate,” Zhang says. “There was just this energy.”
“I tried to build the lab as a start up environment by putting together or recruiting people who are deeply passionate,” Zhang says. “There was just this energy.”
By Akshitha Ramachandran, Crimson Staff Writer

The University of California, Berkeley filed an appeal Thursday that challenges the Harvard-affiliated Broad Institute for the rights to CRISPR, a groundbreaking gene-editing technology.

The Broad Institute, a genetics research center affiliated with both Harvard and MIT, won a patent lawsuit against UC Berkeley in February. A US Patent Trial court ruled after a year-long legal battle that researchers at the Broad Institute had rights to the CRISPR patent in eukaryotic cells, which include animal and human cells and are primary targets for commercial purposes.

Broad Institute researcher Feng Zhang '04 debuted the CRISPR-Cas9 technology in a 2013 paper.
Broad Institute researcher Feng Zhang '04 debuted the CRISPR-Cas9 technology in a 2013 paper. By Charles K. Michael

In their appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, UC Berkeley researchers are requesting a reversal of February’s court decision, arguing it was never truly determined who invented the use of CRISPR in eukaryotic cells, according to UK Reuters.

CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing is a cutting-edge technique that enables scientists to edit portions of organisms’ genetic codes with greater precision than in several older techniques of gene surgery. In the future, scientists predict CRISPR may be able to eliminate genetic diseases such as sickle cell anemia.

While the Broad Institute is confident that Harvard and MIT have the rights to CRISPR, UC Berkeley researchers have already been granted a CRISPR patent for eukaryotic cells in the United Kingdom, and the European Patent Office is expected to award them another, Reuters reported.

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