The latest battle between the East Coast and West Coast might soon draw to a close. A super short ruling from the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board found no "interference," in patents awarded to Harvard and Broad Institute scientist Feng Zhang, related to the use of a novel gene-editing technique called CRISPR. The losers in this decision are Berkeley scientists Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier, who developed the first methods for using CRISPR, a technique that has been heralded as a "revolution in molecular biology."
The University of California at Berkeley is considering an appeal, and issued the following statement:
We continue to maintain that the evidence overwhelmingly supports our position that the Doudna/Charpentier team was the first group to invent this technology for use in all settings and all cell types, and was the first to publish and file patent applications directed toward that invention, and that the Broad Institute's patents directed toward use of the CRISPR-Cas9 system in particular cell types are not patentably distinct from the Doudna/Charpentier invention. For that reason, UC will carefully consider all options for possible next steps in this legal process, including the possibility of an appeal of the PTAB's decision.