This analysis targets the CRISPR-Cas9 system, rather than the broad CRISPR-based gene editing. For a comparative analysis of the latter please see the next section.
To build on the early patent landscape by Egelie et al., 2016 and capture inventions that claim the CRISPR-Cas9 system including any of its components, we used this simple search strategy that highlights relevant keywords in the patent claims: claims:CRISPR OR claims:Cas9 OR claims:gRNAs OR claims:("RNAs guided") OR claims:("guided RNAs") OR claims:sgRNAs OR claims:("CRISPR cas9"). Search results captured 7,980 Patents (3,835 Families) on October 9, 2020 which were then used to create the dynamic collection, CRISPR Cas9: Claims. This collection was then expanded by simple patent family (CRISPR Cas9: Claims-Expanded) to capture all filings around the world and determine geographical distribution of potential patent rights, should patent applications be issued.
An alternative/complementary search strategy was also tried by narrowing the search to just the keyword "CRISPR Cas9" in the claims, or by combining it with a search for a CPC classification code C12N2310/20* taking into consideration the use of examiner-classified code for CRISPRs which may reveal new patents. The resulting search string used in the Lens: claims:(CRISPR cas9) OR classification_cpc: (C12N2310/20*).
Both search results were saved into dynamic collections: (1) CRISPR Cas9: only in claims, and (2) CRISPR Cas9: claims & CPC code. Both results show that the majority of documents are patent applications and most filings have been recent, indicating that the technology is still in its early stage of development. For a more detailed mapping and landscaping, readers may want to try various search strategies in the Lens, edit or combine various queries and using the various Lens tools, distill these into a set of patents which can then be saved into a dynamic collection for further analysis/ tracking, and manual inspection.
Who is inventing and participating in this technology?
Universities seem to be leading the patenting race but are they also participating in product development? Fig. 6 displays the top inventors and applicants based on Lens dynamic collection: CRISPR Cas9: Claims (https://link.lens.org/LLl1Aea0RVb).
Where are these patents filed?
Analysis of the Lens dynamic collection, CRISPR Cas9: Claims expanded by patent family, showed that global filings accelerated post-2013. The majority of the top 100 patents were international filings (WO) and were cited by other patents. Forward patent citations ranged from 1 to more than 300 (Fig. 7). Further analysis reveals that international filings are almost on par with US publications. Readers can explore further the graphs from Figs. 7, 8 and 9 and the corresponding collection in the Lens and create their own customized dashboard.
What are the main technology fields of use covered ?
Here, we display the technology fields of use based on The Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) which is a joint effort between the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) to harmonize their existing classification systems (Fig. 9). These codes are generally assigned by patent examiners to reveal the nature and field of use of the claimed invention in a patent and readers can look up the verbose meaning of the codes in the Lens Classification Explorer when viewing this graph in the Lens.
Which patents are the most important?
Importance can be measured by the size of the simple patent family, a value, mainly perceived by patent applicants upon increasing the filings of their patent applications, considered to be the same inventions, across various jurisdictions. Also, importance can be evaluated by whether the patent was recognized and cited by other patents, i.e.the number of forward patent citations. As an example, here are the top two patents based on each of the two metrics.
Top valued patents based on family size
Methods And Compositions For Rna-directed Target Dna Modification And For Rna-directed Modulation Of Transcription. Published: Jun 29, 2017 Filed: Mar 15, 2013. Earliest Priority: May 25, 2012. Applicant: CHARPENTIER EMMANUELLE, UNIV CALIFORNIA, UNIV VIENNA. Family: 204 Cited Works: 1 Cited by: 0 Cites: 2. Granted Patent: AU 2013/266,968 B2, Lens ID: 044–218-111–367-891
Crispr-based Genome Modification And Regulation. Published: Jun 4, 2015 Filed: Dec 5, 2013 Earliest Priority: Dec 6, 2012 Applicant: SIGMA ALDRICH CO LLC. Family: 105 Cited Works: 0 Cited by: 0 Cites: 0. Patent Application: AU 2013/355,214 A1, Lens ID: 069–897-985–352-951
Top valued patents by whether they are cited by other patents
Target Dna Interference With Crrna. Published: Mar 25, 2010 Filed: Sep 23, 2009 Earliest Priority: Sep 23, 2008. Applicant: UNIV NORTHWESTERN. Family: 1 Cited Works: 0 Cited by: 317 Cites: 1. Patent Application: US 2010/0,076,057 A1, Lens ID: 163–191-723–263-652
Rna-directed Dna Cleavage By The Cas9-crrna Complex. Published: Sep 26, 2013 Filed: Mar 15, 2013. Earliest Priority: Mar 20, 2012. Applicant: UNIV VILNIUS. Family: 30 Cited Works: 39 Cited by: 262 Cites: 3. Patent Application: WO 2013/141,680 A1, Lens ID: 030–123-260–799-09X
How does the licensing network across all fields of use look like?
The CRISPR licensing network can be explored at.
https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/1011791/embed. By clicking on any of the blue circles, one can view the licensor and licensees in this interactive network. Data Source: CRISPR Licenses Dataverse. Network graph by Flourish team.
Who has IP rights to Agricultural applications using CRISPR technology?
Exclusive and non-exclusive worldwide licenses have been granted to the major agriculture companies and structural re-organizations of some of these companies have been observed since 2017. For example, BASF signed agreements with Bayer in 2017 and 2018 to buy its global vegetable seeds business, mainly operating under the brand Nunhems®. Bayer and Monsanto have merged and although integration is taking place, the two companies will be operating as two separate legal entities in many countries for several years. Moreover, the spinoff of DuPont Pioneer, DuPont Crop Protection and Dow AgroSciences, Corteva Agriscience™ has become independent and publicly traded company since June 1, 2019 (Fig. 10).