On the Record | Professor Jacob Sherkow on the Ruling Over Who Owns a Powerful Gene-Editing Tool

The question of who owns the technology behind “CRISPR”—a gene-editing tool with the potential to treat genetic diseases and generate enormous profit—was answered on February 15 by judges from the federal Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).

The PTO ruled in favor of a team of Harvard and M.I.T. scientists who work with the Broad Institute in Massachusetts. The Broad Institute team had previously received patents related to CRISPR. The legal dispute began when scientists from the University of California argued that their work—not the Broad Institute’s—had led to CRISPR’s creation and that they were entitled to the Broad Institute’s patents. In dismissing the California challenge, the PTO determined that each team’s technology was unique enough to warrant separate patents.

The case was watched by biotech experts around the world—including Associate Professor Jacob Sherkow, who teaches intellectual property and patent law and works with New York Law School’s Innovation Center for Law and Technology.

Read Professor Sherkow’s analysis on the ruling in these stories: