The U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), in an interference proceeding decided in February 2022, concluded that researchers at the Broad Institute (Cambridge, MA) were the first to "conceive"of using single-guide RNA CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing in eukaryotic cells in 2012. The PTAB reached this verdict even though competing researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, among other institutions, could document the idea 7 months earlier. Understanding the basis for the PTAB's decision turns on patent law's particular "conception"requirement. In this study, I explain that requirement, detail the PTAB's interference decision, and discuss the decision's practical effects on CRISPR technology and routine science.
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