ERS Genomics Responds to Revocation of Broad Institute European Patent
DUBLIN, Ireland, January 18, 2018 - ERS Genomics announced that yesterday, the European Patent Office (the “Office”) revoked in its entirety the first of several Broad Institute patents that are facing opposition there. The Office determined that the Broad Institute’s European patent No. EP 2,771,468 claimed inventions that lack novelty over prior art. The Office rejected the Broad Institute’s position that its patent was entitled to a priority date pre-dating the prior art. In originally obtaining the patent, the Broad Institute, according to the Office, failed to follow rules and established caselaw for properly establishing an earlier priority date. This patent is the first of the Broad Institute CRISPR patents to face opposition in Europe. Many other Broad patents granted in Europe suffer from the same failure to comply with the priority requirements.
This patent was opposed by multiple groups on a variety of grounds. The priority defect was simply one of those grounds of opposition which was quickly found to be sufficient for the EPO to make the ‘revocation in its entirety’ ruling, and subsequent grounds were not even considered.
Eric Rhodes, CEO of ERS stated, “We have always felt confident that the Broad’s patents would be overturned in Europe based on lack of novelty in light of the Charpentier/Doudna patent filings, but the simple confirmation of this technical deficiency in the Broad’s priority claims made it unnecessary for the European Patent Office to pursue this line of questioning in their revocation decision. The technical fault was sufficient for the patent office to quickly come to a determination that the Broad claims to their earlier priority dates were not legitimate and therefore their claims lacked novelty in light of several publications which predated their allowed priority date.”
The Broad Institute is expected to appeal the decision and commented in a statement on their website that they expect the EPO to ‘harmonize the EPO procedures to be consistent with international treaties and compatible with the fundamental principles of the Paris Convention’. However, they failed to point out that the language pertaining to these procedures in both the European Patent Convention and the Paris Convention are identical. “Any such change as expected by the Broad would require a change in the law itself.” Rhodes continued, “The vast majority of the Broad Institute’s CRISPR patents in Europe are also affected by this same deficiency and we expect them to meet a similar fate.”
ERS Genomics was formed to provide broad access to the foundational CRISPR/Cas9 intellectual property held by Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier. Non-exclusive licenses are available for research and sale of products and services across multiple fields including: research tools, kits, reagents; discovery of novel targets for therapeutic intervention; cell lines for discovery and screening of novel drug candidates; GMP production of healthcare products; production of industrial materials such as enzymes, biofuels and chemicals; and synthetic biology. For additional information please visit www.ersgenomics.com.