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

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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.