Patent upheld, ERS leadership position in European CRISPR Landscape confirmed


Dublin, Ireland, 31 May 2022: The Opposition Division of the European patent office has maintained European Patent Number 3401400 over challenges from several groups, reinforcing this strong foundational CRISPR patent in Europe.


European Patent 3401400 (‘EP400’) has withstood formal opposition at the European Patent Office (‘EPO’) with only minor modifications. The decision by the EPO Opposition Division (‘OD’) was recently published following lengthy hearings which concluded in February of this year. The patent was the third of three foundational patents filed by the CVC group in Europe with wide reaching fundamental claims including use of CRISPR technology in eukaryotic cells and organisms, including humans, animals, and plants.

The patent is jointly owned by ERS founder and Nobel prize winner Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier, along with the University of Vienna and the University of California (jointly known as the ‘CVC’ group).

Opponents had challenged EP400 at the European Patent Office formally claiming lack of novelty and inventive step and asking the OD to revoke the patent in its entirety. These arguments were soundly rejected by the OD. Minor modifications to the claim language were made to account for European rules which apply to restrictions involving human germ cells and embryos.

Eric Rhodes, CEO at ERS Genomics, had the following statement: ‘“We are very happy with this result. After considerable confusion with regard to these matters in the US recently, we appreciate that the EPO understands the big picture when it comes to CRISPR/Cas9 and this was, in my opinion, the only reasonable and fair outcome.”

Michael Arciero, VP of Intellectual Property for ERS Genomics, added: “Together with the EPO’s previous decision to uphold the company’s European Patent 28000811 in February of 2020 against similar challenges, this further solidifies CVC’s foundational CRISPR/Cas9 patents in Europe.”

ERS Genomics, co-founded by Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier, 2020 Nobel Prize winner for the discovery of the revolutionary CRISPR gene-editing technology, provides licensing to CRISPR/Cas9 technology for companies interested in pursuing its use in their commercial programs. ERS Genomics licenses these patents via its direct license from Emmanuelle Charpentier and has now put over 100 licenses in place worldwide. Eighty-nine patents are currently held in over 90 countries.