SJ Quinney College of Law, University of Utah


Since 2012, CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) technology has revolutionized how scientists approach gene editing. CRISPR allows for easier modification and alteration of the genome. This technology has potential applications ranging from correcting genetic defects to the treatment and prevention of diseases—CRISPR’s potential upside is unquestionable. However, CRISPR’s current patent landscape presents a variety of roadblocks for research, innovation, and profit. This Note discusses the potential use of a patent pool to alleviate some of these roadblocks. This Note begins with a discussion of the independent administrative body attempting to create such a patent pool, MPEG LA, before discussing the current patent landscape. Next, it discusses the licensing issues biotech products face when attempting to create a patent pool. Finally, this Note analyzes the prospects of MPEG LA’s current attempt to create a patent pool in the CRISPR arena. This analysis discusses why a CRISPR patent pool would work, as well as arguments suggesting its failure. This Note ultimately concludes that, while there are many barriers which could impede a CRSIPR patent pool’s success, MPEG LA’s patent pool is a promising approach to a complex licensing problem in a budding technological area.