Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A Cat Fight to Watch

CRISPR technology is moving forward with great speed, so too now are the lawyers. As GenomeWeb states:

The US Patent and Trademark Office yesterday declared an interference proceeding to settle certain claims related to the CRISPR patent battle between parties led by the Broad Institute and the University of California, respectively. In the interference proceedings, the USPTO will collect, consider, and compare historical documentary evidence to establish invention dates. Because the applications were filed before the US moved to a "first to file" patent system in 2013, the patent rights will be granted under the old "first to invent" system. In a document declaring the interference, the USPTO named the University of California as the senior party, effectively placing the burden on the Broad Institute to establish that it invented the technology first, even though the USPTO granted it the first CRISPR-related patent in April 2014.

 We have been following this since the beginning. I was amazed at how the PTO turned around the first patent in less than 6 months. Now comes the reality of the PTO, it is a Government entity after all.

There will be a East vs West battle afoot. This should be watched because it will play out across many landscapes. In a sense it will be the Valley vs 128, and the winner will provide definition and direction for a generation. The Valley has ready take a PR shot with their Oscar like award to the California team, Hollywood like awards. The MIT/Broad team seem to be just cranking out start ups. I suspect result will better galas but who knows when the lawyers enter the fray?