On 10 September, the United States Appeal Court made a “crucial” decision about rights concerning the CRISPR Cas9 tool, granting the patent to Harvard’s Broad Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The Appeal Court thus confirmed the earlier decision made by the US Patent and Trademark Office (see CRISPR: US Patent Office decides). A debate closely followed by investors who “already inject millions of dollars into companies wishing to develop medicines or cultures using CRISPR Cas9”.
The Nature Journal has commented as follows: “[This] decision spells defeat for a team of inventors at the University of California, Berkeley (UC), led by molecular biologist Jennifer Doudna”. The American scientist is in fact the first person to have worked on CRISPR with French woman, Emmanuelle Charpentier (see CRISPR: are Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier responsible for the ethical scope of their discovery?).
CRISPR is “currently used in laboratories around the world”, and numerous patent applications have been filed. The patent granted to the Broad Institute is “particularly important because it is the first to describe the method applied to eukaryotes”. The University of California can still appeal against the decision but “it remains to be seen whether the United States Supreme Court will tackle the case”.