European Patent Office Tosses Broad Institute’s Gene-Editing Patent

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Broad Institute may have just lost future market dominance in Europe for a potentially highly valuable gene-editing technology.

A day after the European Patent Office (EPO) revoked a gene-editing technology patent owned by the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Broad appealed the decision.

Broad filed a formal notice of appeal to the EPO’s Technical Board of Appeal, Lee McGuire, chief communications officer at Broad, told me in a Jan. 22 email.

It’s concerned about a decision the EPO made to invalidate Broad’s claim that it was the first to use CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) in complex organisms called eukaryotes, which include humans, because it left off one of the inventors when it filed the European patent.

Broad says the EPO’s revocation decision was based on a technical formality relating to “the current interpretation of rules that dictate what happens when the names of inventors differ across international applications.” It also says the decision isn’t consistent with other countries’ patent processes and should be overturned.

Meanwhile, it could take a while for the appeal to wend its way through the European system, Brent Babcock, an intellectual property lawyer with Knobbe Martens in Irvine, Calif., told me in a Jan. 19 telephone call.

So stay tuned. There’s a huge European market at stake.

Read my full story here.

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