UC Berkeley receives its 4th CRISPR patent, expects 3 more after

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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued UC Berkeley its fourth patent for CRISPR Cas-9, a revolutionary gene-editing technology, April 23, allowing the university’s CRISPR Cas-9 patent portfolio to cover even more uses of the technology.

This new patent, 10,266,850, is co-owned, belonging to the university, the University of Vienna and professor Emmanuelle Charpentier of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, and complements three previous patents.

Previously, the patent was involved in a “terminated interference proceeding,” involving various patents and another patent application from the Broad Institute, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The conflict, however, was resolved, and the university received its patent.

“We are very pleased at the progress we’re making with the issuance of this patent and will continue to promote the intellectual property of the Doudna-Charpentier team’s CRISPR-Cas9 invention,” said Director at Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox and lead patent strategist on CRISPR matters for the university Eldora L. Ellison in a press release. “Today’s patent further builds on the numerous CRISPR-Cas9 applications in UC’s portfolio and will support the university’s commitment to utilizing the genome editing technology for the benefit of our society.”

Unlike previous CRISPR patents, this fourth patent covers any instance involving CRISPR and related methods, as well as systems for modifying DNA. Therefore, it is applicable to both gene-editing work in vitro and in test tubes and dishes, as well as in live cells.

Looking forward, the university has heard from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that the patent office plans to approve three more patents in the future. This will bring the number of patents awarded to Charpentier, UC Berkeley professor of molecular and cell biology and chemistry Jennifer Doudna and the University of Vienna to a total of seven patents after all are issued.

The CRISPR Cas-9 technology, although patented by the university, is widely used. This wide use is made possible because of the university’s exclusive license with Berkeley’s Caribou Biosciences Inc., an organization that sublicenses the patented technology internationally to many companies. The university shares its patented technology and allows nonprofits to use this technology for academic reasons such as research.

Yao Huang is the lead research and ideas reporter. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @Yhoneplus.