Precision BioSciences Wins Victory over Cellectis

Scott Daniels | November 1, 2010

The PTO has issued a Right of Appeal Notice (RAN) in the inter partes reexamination of Cellectis’ U.S. Patent No. 7,309,605 entitled “Nucleotide Sequence Encoding the Enzyme I-SceI and the Uses Thereof.”  The ‘605 patent now joins three other related Celectis patents – U.S. Patent Nos. 6,610,545, 6,833,252 and 7,214,536 – that have been rejected in reexamination and are now on appeal before the PTO Board. The reexamination proceedings were requested by Precision BioSciences.

Cellectis had filed a Complaint against Precision in the Eastern District of North Carolina in March 2008 for infringement of the ‘605 and ‘545 patents.  Precision’s accused product is called a “Directed Nuclease Editor” (DNE). According to Cellectis, Precision’s DNE makes Group I intron coded endonucleases used to target site-specific DNA breaks and modify the genome of plants.  The ‘605 and ‘545 patents are owned by Institut Pasteur and Universitie Pierre et Marie Currie; Cellectis is the exclusive licensee.

An unusual feature of the infringement suit is the Supplemental Complaint filed by Cellectis, adding an accusation that Precision has committed unfair competition and libel per se.   Cellectis accuses Precision of issuing a series of misleading press releases regarding the ‘252 and ‘536 patent reexaminations.  The Supplemental Complaint concludes that the press releases “are likely to mislead the industry and Cellectis’ customers into mistakenly believing that the PTO determined that accused processes using Precision’s DNE do not infringe the ‘545 and ‘605 patents-in-suit and that those patents are invalid and unenforceable, thereby improperly impeaching Cellectis in its business activities.”

This past August Magistrate Judge David Daniel issued an Order staying Cellectis’ infringement suit pending completion of the reexaminations.  It is unlikely that there will be any decision by the Board on the appeal of the rejection of Cellectis’ patents before their expiration in May 2012.

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