HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Models of Technology Transfer for Genome-Editing Technologies

Gregory D. Graff (University of California, Berkeley), Jacob S. Sherkow (University of Illinois), Models of Technology Transfer for Genome-Editing Technologies, 21 Annual Rev. Genomics Human Genetics 509 (2020):

Many of the fundamental inventions of genome editing, including meganu- cleases, zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs), transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs), and CRISPR, were first made at universities and patented to encourage commercial development. This gave rise to a diver- sity of technology transfer models but also conflicts among them. Against a broader historical and policy backdrop of university patenting and spe- cial challenges concerning research tools, we review the patent estates of genome editing and the diversity of technology transfer models employed to commercialize them, including deposit in the public domain, open access contracts, material transfer agreements, nonexclusive and exclusive licenses, surrogate licenses, and aggregated licenses. Advantages are found in this di- versity, allowing experimentation and competition that we characterize as a federalism model of technology transfer. A notable feature of genome edit- ing has been the rise and success of third-party licensing intermediaries. At the same time, the rapid pace of development of genome-editing technology is likely to erode the importance of patent estates and licensing regimes and may mitigate the effect of overly broad patents, giving rise to new substitutes to effectuate commercialization.

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