Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law

Major patent battle over breakthrough gene-editing tech

New Jersey researchers might be interested in learning about a major patent battle involving a breakthrough discovery in gene editing. The case pits some top scientists against each other as they battle for the patent rights of the CRISPR-cas9 technology.

The technology allows researchers to edit genes precisely, which could potentially lead to the development of wholly new treatments and therapies for a variety of conditions. Two female scientists filed for a patent for the CRISPR-cas9 technology in 2012, describing how the technology could be used in bacteria but not providing as much information about how it might be used in human cells. Later that same year, a Harvard researcher filed a patent for the CRISPR-cas9 technology, focusing specifically on how it could be used in humans.

The patents on the technology may be worth as much as $40 billion. Several other companies have already hedged their bets on one side or the other winning. Whichever side prevails, the other is likely to appeal, a process that could take years. All of the scientists who are involved in the suit have started companies that are based on using the technology.

Patent disputes may be very complex, and high stakes may be involved. When people file a patent application, it is important for them to precisely describe how the invention could be used. An intellectual property attorney may help clients with submitting a patent application. If a dispute arises or an infringement occurs, the attorney may take the matter to court if negotiations prove to be fruitless.

Source: NPR, "Scientists battle in court over lucrative patents for gene-editing tool listen· 3:52", Richard Harris, Dec. 5, 2016

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Benjamin Appelbaum, Attorney at Law - Intellectual Property

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