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University of California deep in dispute over gene-editing IP

On one side, you have the University of California. On the side, there’s Harvard and MIT’s Broad Institute. The intellectual property dispute involving some of the nation’s premier institutes of higher learning revolves around the question of which of them will reap the rewards of their work together that resulted in CRISPR/Cas 9 discoveries.

It should be noted that CRISPR/Cas9 is a gene-editing technology scientists use to locate problematic sections of the human genetic code and swap it out with a corrected segment. The in CRISPR/Cas 9 advances offer the potential for cures and preventions of genetic diseases – and also sparked an intense, ongoing debate over the ethics of human genome editing.

The University of California and the MIT/Harvard Broad Institute have been battling in courts in the five years since Broad received a crucial patent while UC waited for approval of its filing. Broad eventually prevailed in that dispute, but days ago the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued UC’s CRISPR/Cas9 patent – a move that surprised many and further confused the question of which prestigious seat of higher learning stands to benefit most when the gene-editing technology comes to fruition.

A northern California news outlet recently spoke to a professor at the Innovation Center for Law and Technology at New York Law School and a health news reporter to try to sort out the complex dispute.

The patent law professor said he was “surprised” by the news that UC’s patent is being issued, while the reporter said the “good news” for the California school could mean it stands to earn millions of dollars, though that is considerably less than the billions that had been previously estimated by some.

We don’t know how this will all be sorted out, though many believe both UC and Broad stand to benefit from future use of CRISPR tech.

Those individuals, companies and organizations facing IP disputes should lean on the legal knowledge of a law firm experienced in intellectual property litigation.