The Washington Post reported on the recent controversy surrounding the Crispr-Cas9 technology. One group is aiming to overturn a patent on the gene-editing technology. The dispute is between the Broad Institute and a California group, who developed similar but separate technologies around Crispr-Cas9.
“A group including University of California, the University of Vienna and researcher Emmanuelle Charpentier said on Wednesday that it seeks to overturn a patent decision related to the best-known Crispr system, Crispr-cas9.”
Two research groups noted that it would make gene-editing like “cutting and pasting text on a computer.” The tensions are rising based on the dispute between the two groups.
“That decision by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board protected Crispr-cas9 patents issued to the Broad Institute, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology against a challenge by the California group.”
This technology, of course, can be used to edit the genomes of plants, animals, including people. Many of the same scientists involved in this “dispute” invented similar technologies, where the two technologies use two different enzymes.
“Adding further legal uncertainty to the mix, Vilnius University in Lithuania received notice on Wednesday that the U.S. patent office plans to issue it a broad Crispr-related patent in the U.S. that could draw challenges from the California group and the Broad.”
One technology is the Crispr-Cas9. The other is the similar Crispr-cas13a. With the transformative technology that comes from this methodology, or these methodologies, the legal disputes focused on Crispr-Cas9.
“The patent judges ruled that the Broad Institute’s use of Crispr-cas9 in the cells of plants, animals and humans, differed from the California group’s claims to Crispr-cas9 as a gene editor regardless of location.”
The gene-editing technology under dispute has had investments in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The technologies could be used for gene therapies and even cures for diseases that have a basis in genetics.
The legal battles over the technology continue.
Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. Jacobsen works for science and human rights, especially women’s and children’s rights. He considers the modern scientific and technological world the foundation for the provision of the basics of human life throughout the world and advancement of human rights as the universal movement among peoples everywhere.