“The contestants are the University of California and the Broad Institute, a Harvard- and MIT-affiliated research foundation endowed by Los Angeles billionaire Eli Broad. At stake are the rights to a breakthrough gene-editing technology known as CRISPR — and more precisely, to billions of dollars in royalties and license fees likely to flow to whichever claimant prevails before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (and in the almost inevitable appeals in court).”
“Other scientists see the battle as a distasteful example of the influence of big money — and the race for Nobel credit — on basic research. ‘Having prizes and patents involved has transformed what should be one of the greatest success stories for basic research into this nasty, catty fight in which people are behaving poorly,’ says Berkeley biologist Michael Eisen, a colleague of Doudna's and the head of a lab that stands to gain resources if UC wins the patent fight.
“He added on his blog: ‘Neither Berkeley nor MIT should have patents on CRISPR, since it is a disservice to science and the public for academic scientists to ever claim intellectual property in their work.’ Indeed, neither the Doudna nor Zhang teams were the first to identify CRISPR or to use it; the history dates back as far as 1987 and involves researchers in Japan, Spain, Chicago, Quebec and other places’”