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The protein components of the genome editor CRISPR (red) target and cut DNA strands.


New patent win for University of California upends CRISPR legal battle

The University of California (UC) has received good news on a patent for the invention of the genome editor known as CRISPR—and it likely moves a fierce legal war over who owns the valuable intellectual property for this powerful tool closer to a peace treaty. As STAT reports, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia, posted a “notice of allowance” on Friday for UC’s CRISPR patent, which it applied for in March 2013. The patent should be officially issued to the school within 8 weeks.

The fight over who invented CRISPR has raged for several years, and many scientists predict its creation will lead to a Nobel Prize. UC earlier lost a high-profile fight over a CRISPR patent issued to a team led by the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Various companies have licensed the CRISPR-related intellectual property of Broad and UC, even as the patents have been in dispute. The invention of CRISPR technology spawned a multibillion-dollar industry as it promises to lead to new medicine, crops, and fundamental insights about biology. For a close look at the main players in this scientific and legal tussle, read our 2017 feature.