US Patent Institutions recognize the patentability of Institut Pasteur/Cellectis early inventions on Meganucleases
Paris, February 5, 2014 – Cellectis (Alternext: ALCLS), the Genome engineering specialist, announced that, by the turn of the year, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Courts of Appeal for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) independently recognized the merits of Cellectis and Institut Pasteur's early inventions on meganucleases.
Their decisions awarded the efforts made by Cellectis over the last ten years to advocate that Meganucleases were originally invented by Cellectis and Institut Pasteur's researchers.
1 - On December 30, 2013, the CAFC overturned an ill-founded decision by the USPTO dated March 2012, which had invalidated three patents filed by Institut Pasteur (US 7, 309, 605; US 6, 610, 545 and US 6, 833, 252).
These patents were broadly protecting the use of Meganucleases to genetically engineer living cells. The USPTO erroneously considered during reexamination proceedings that all three patents were lacking inventive step. At that time, Cellectis, as the exclusive licensee of Institut Pasteur, did not admit the grounds of this decision and decided to subsequently request its revision before the Court of Appeal for the Federal Circuit. The Court, in its judgment dated December 30, 2013 (Institut Pasteur & Université v. Forcarino), reversed said decision "as based on factual findings unsupported by substantial evidence and an erroneous obviousness analysis, including an improper discounting of Pasteur's objective indicia of non-obviousness". As a result, the USPTO will have to partly re-issue the patents owned by Institut Pasteur.
2 - On January 7, 2014, the USPTO issued additional patent to Cellectis on Meganucleases derived from I-CreI (US 8, 624, 000).
US 8, 624, 000 patent follows another patent issued on September 10, 2013 (US 8, 530, 214), while two others have been allowed on December 6 and 26 respectively based on US 13/422, 902 and 13/556, 206. The four patents broadly cover the inventions made by Cellectis researchers (Arnould, Pâques, Duchateau and others), consisting of reprogramming Meganucleases to target and cut new DNA sequences into genomes.