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China sides with Berkeley on CRISPR patent

3 July 2017
Appeared in BioNews 907

China's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) has granted the University of California a patent on CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing technology in the country.

The SIPO patent granted to University of California Berkeley, University of Vienna and researcher Professor Emanuelle Charpentier, will allow them to license CRISPR technologies to firms and researchers in China. It will also allow Professor Charpentier's company CRISPR Therapeutics and that of Professor Jennifer Doudna at Berkeley - Intellia Therapeutics, to market any CRISPR-based therapies they develop in future in the country.

'SIPO's decision further expands our IP portfolio, and is further global recognition that Jennifer Doudna, Emmanuelle Charpentier and their team are the pioneers in the application of CRISPR/Cas9 in all cell types,' said Intellia Therapeutics Chief Executive Officer and President, Dr Nessan Bermingham.

CRISPR intellectual property rights are the subject of an ongoing dispute in the USA between the University of California who were first to file and hold a general patent, and the Broad Institute, whose use of CRISPR in eukaryotic cells was determined to be separately patentable. The University of California argue that Professor Doudna and Professor Charpentier's team were the first to invent the technique, and has since filed an appeal for patent rights to uses of CRISPR in all cell types.

'China is following the lead of the EU and UK in saying that Doudna and Charpentier were the first to invent the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology,' said University of California Berkeley spokesperson, Robert Sanders, according to The Daily Californian. 'We are arguing that the US Patent and Trademark Office should also recognize Doudna and Charpentier were the first to invent the technology.'

The Broad Institute may yet be granted its own patents in China, as patent applications from the Broad Institute are still being considered by SIPO. 'In China, patents are subject to invalidation proceedings after they are issued,' Lee McGuire, the chief communications officer for the Broad Institute told The Daily Californian.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
China sides with Emmanulle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna in CRISPR patent war
TechCrunch |  19 June 2017
China will grant CRISPR patent to UC
The Daily Californian |  30 June 2017
CRISPR Therapeutics Announces Patent for CRISPR/Cas Genome Editing in China
CRISPR Therapeutics |  19 June 2017
Intellia Therapeutics Announces Patent for CRISPR/Cas Genome Editing in China
Intellia Therapeutics |  19 June 2017
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