Clearing a way through the CRISPR patent jungle


Timo Minssen, Esther van Zimmeren, Jakob Wested

Clearing a way through the CRISPR patent jungle

cosmin4000 /

There may be a path through the CRISPR patent jungle, but there are many obstacles still in the way, say European academics Timo Minssen, Esther van Zimmeren and Jakob Wested.

The revocation of the Broad Institute’s patent EP2771468, reported and discussed here, marks the latest major development in a series of patent battles over the revolutionary and highly lucrative CRISPR/Cas 9 technology (and other gene-editing technologies) in the US and Europe.

While this is the first European Patent Office (EPO) decision in an opposition procedure concerning the Broad patent portfolio, the outcome may have implications for other related patents as the rationale for the revocation reflects a larger, systemic challenge based on the different rules regarding priority claims in different jurisdictions.

This is a rather complex legal issue, but with potentially important implications in practice that require patent applicants to be very careful about when they assign their patent application. The Broad Institute has already made clear that it intends to file an appeal at the EPO, which again highlights the commercial relevance of the CRISPR patent concerned.

Timo Minssen, Esther van Zimmeren, Jakob Wested. CRISPR technology, Broad Institute CRISPR, patent revocation