By Heidi Ledford
The long-running battle over US patents for CRISPR–Cas9 gene editing continues. On 25 October, the Broad Institute of Cambridge, Massachusetts, filed a fresh set of arguments with the US government to defend a key patent.
That action helps to set the stage for a second round of oral arguments in the unusually vitriolic case, which observers expect to take place in early 2018. A decision is anticipated to follow shortly thereafter.
In the filing, lawyers for the Broad and its collaborators argued that its opponent, a team that includes the University of California, Berkeley, has failed to provide new evidence that would undermine the legitimacy of the Broad’s patent. The lawyers also used the University of California’s own press releases as a sign that the case should be thrown out.
At stake are intellectual-property rights to the use of CRISPR–Cas9 gene-editing tools in eukaryotes, organisms such as plants and animals. This would include applications of the technique to treat human genetic diseases — an approach that has recently entered cancer clinical trials in China, and is potentially the most lucrative application of gene editing.
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