Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley have filed an appeal to overturn a decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board filed in mid-February. The board granted a patent to UC for CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing in bacterial cells, but awarded a separate a patent to the East-Coast based Broad Institute, jointly owned by Harvard and MIT, for CRISPR's use in plant and animal cells.
UC believes they were the first inventors and should have the patent for use in all applications.
"We expect to establish definitively that the team led by [UC's] Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier was the first to engineer CRISPR-Cas9 for use in all types of environments, including in non-cellular settings and within plant, animal and even human cells,” said Edward Penhoet, associate dean of biology at UC Berkeley in a statement.
In a separate statement, the Broad Institute says they expect the outcome of the appeal to remain the same.
Billions are at stake. The patent for CRISPR gene editing will make whoever holds it a powerful player in the biomed industry, university research and the future of medicine.