January 17, 2020 -- An important patent on CRISPR technology held by the Broad Institute has been revoked by the European Patent Office (EPO).
On January 16, the EPO's Technical Board of Appeal upheld a previous ruling in 2018 that the Broad Institute's EP2771468 patent was not novel and therefore should be revoked. EP2771468 is seen as the institute's foundational CRISPR-Cas9 patent in Europe, noted a release from ERS Genomics.
The Broad Institute had appealed the earlier decision, saying the issue related to the "current interpretation of rules that dictate what happens when the names of inventors differ across international applications. This interpretation affects many other European patents that rely on U.S. provisional patent applications, and is inconsistent with treaties designed to harmonize the international patent process, including that of the United States and Europe," according to background information about the patent.
However, with the EPO's final ruling, all claims of the Broad Institute's CRISPR-Cas9 patent remain fully revoked with no option to overturn the decision.
The ruling should make it easier to commercialize CRISPR-Cas9 technology in Europe, according to ERS Genomics, which was formed to try to commercialize the technology.
"We are pleased to see that the EPO appeals board has upheld the earlier decision which resulted in the full revocation of this first significant patent," said Eric Rhodes, CEO of ERS Genomics. "To have the issue resolved finally provides some measure of clarity to those companies interested in using and commercializing CRISPR/Cas9 technology. Today's ruling significantly reduces Broad's CRISPR/Cas9 patent footprint in Europe and should make licensing decisions much easier for those looking to utilize CRISPR/Cas9 technology in Europe."