Picture EBD Group BioPharm America 2020 Digital Event BEU2020 650x81
Document › Details

Broad Institute [McGuire, Lee). (1/17/18). "News Release: For Journalists – Statement and Background on the CRISPR Patent Process. Update on Patent Processs In Europe".

Region Region Europe
Organisations Organisation Broad Institute (MIT / Harvard)
  Group MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  Organisation 2 European Patent Office (EPO)
  Group European Patent Organisation (EPO)
Products Product CRISPR gene editing technology
  Product 2 IP services

Update on patent process in Europe
In a decision that is unrelated to the substantive merits of the CRISPR patent, an initial review panel of the European Patent Office (EPO) denied the Broad Institute’s reliance on its U.S. priority provisional application in Europe based on a technical formality.

This technicality concerns 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.

In today’s ruling, the EPO’s Opposition Division was restricted by a formal technical requirement that it must follow these procedures despite the inconsistency with international treaties. The decision does not involve the actual scientific merits of the CRISPR patent application.

The Broad Institute will appeal the decision to EPO’s Technical Board of Appeal, which is expected to use this case as an opportunity to review and resolve this international inconsistency, not just for CRISPR patents, but for a wider range of European patents and applications that originated as U.S. provisional applications.

The Broad Institute is confident that the EPO will, on appeal, harmonize the EPO procedures to be consistent with international treaties and compatible with the fundamental principles of the Paris Convention -- and that it will recognize the same priority dates for the inventions as those the USPTO has repeatedly affirmed for the Broad’s U.S. applications.

Many experts support the Broad Institute’s position, including Lord Hoffmann, retired UK Law Lord; Tobias Bremi, Second Ordinary Judge of the Federal Patent Court of Switzerland; The Honorable Paul R. Michel, retired Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; James Pooley, former Deputy Director General, responsible for operation of the international patent system at the World Intellectual Property Organization, which administers international patent-related treaties; Professor Dr. Dres. h.c. Joseph Straus, Director Emeritus, Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition; Professor John Thomas, Professor of Law, Georgetown University and Professor Paul Torremans, Professor of Intellectual Property Law, School of Law, University of Nottingham and Advisor to the WIPO Academy.

by Lee McGuire
Chief Communications Officer, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

Updated January 17, 2018

Media inquiries:

Record changed: 2018-01-23


Picture EBD Group BIO-Europe 2020 Digital Event BEU2020 650x81

More documents for MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

To subscribe to our free, monthly newsletter for the European life sciences, please send an e-mail to and simply fill the subject line with the word »LSE Newsletter«

To get even more information, please take a look at our [gs] professional services offering and read the gene-sensor Product Flyer [PDF file]


Picture ConsulTech GmbH Berlin Grant Application and Coordination 650x80px

» top