Tuesday, 28 February 2017
A Closer Look at CRISPR Patents and Licensing: A More Nuanced Approach
Professors Jorge Contreras and Jacob Sherkow recently published an article on February 17, 2017, titled, "CRISPR, Surrogate Licensing and Scientific Discovery: Have Research Universities Abandoned Their Public Focus," in Science. The authors examined the publicly available licenses between the research institutions and "spin-off" companies which include one of the principal researchers (the spin-off companies are called "surrogates" by the authors). The authors believe that an apparent "bottleneck" exists with respect to some of the exclusive field of use licenses granted to surrogates which may result in underuse of the technology ultimately harming innovation. This is, in part, because the surrogates may not be best positioned to utilize the technology under some of the broader fields of use that are exclusively licensed. The authors note that a "platform technology" such as CRISPR should be broadly accessible and provide some suggestions for future licensing. The authors also point to how the research institutions have attempted to make the technology available as a tool although without the rights to "market and develop products derived from their research." This paper is three pages long and well-worth a read.