Last week, the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) Patent and Trademark Appeal Board (PTAB) handed down its decision in the contentious CRISPR patent battle between UC Berkeley and the Broad Institute. Somewhat unsurprisingly, the PTAB ruled that there existed no interference-in-fact between the patents and patent applications held by the Broad Institute and those held by UC Berkeley. In short, the PTAB was looking to whether the Broad Institute claims and the UC Berkeley claims were overlapping and if so, would have determined which party had first made the invention. The PTAB clearly stated there exists no overlap, or interference-in-fact, meaning that each institution will be allowed to license and assert its patents as it wishes, granting a victory to the Broad Institute in what has evolved into an extended, and at times, a bitter CRISPR patent battle.
Although the PTAB has finally ruled on this matter, this could represent just one more step in a longer battle that has yet to reach its final act. In fact, UC Berkeley may appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Although it is not clear whether UC Berkeley will take this path, it remains a plausible option, and one that could further prolong this dispute well into the coming years.