Monday, September 9, 2019

Control and Access: Intellectual Property and CRISPR Gene Editing for Innovation in Crop Agriculture

Dates: October 24-25, 2019
Location: Keystone Policy Center and Keystone Lodge in Keystone, Colorado, USA.
Organized by: Colorado State University
Sponsored by: OECD, Co-operative Research Programme on Biological Resource Management for Sustainable Agricultural Systems and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, program on Social Implications of Food and Agricultural Technologies

Following the breakthrough inventions involving CRISPR in 2012, one of the main stories has centered on patent disputes and complex intellectual property ownership. It is not unusual, of course, for “patent thickets” to form around complex biological research tools like CRISPR; yet, less attention has been drawn to the fact that in at least in one industry—crop agriculture—a solution to this problem has been introduced. The joint licensing framework announced by Pioneer (of DowDuPont) and the Broad Institute brings together all the foundational patent rights over CRISPR-Cas and makes them available to a broad range of potentially competing innovators in crop agriculture. This voluntary pooling of key patent rights has enormous implications for opportunities to advance and democratize genetic innovation. It also presents a compelling collective action model for IP, whether for other fields of use of CRISPR-Cas or for other platform technologies altogether.

The objectives of this conference are:
  1. To provide an accurate and up-to-date understanding of the complex and evolving landscape of CRISPR intellectual property rights and terms of access—including terms for research use and the joint-licensing arrangement for commercial use in crop agriculture;
  2. To compile a range of expert opinion and critical analyses of IP access from different disciplinary perspectives of biological sciences, policy, economics, law, and bioethics, as well as from different stakeholders across industry, governments, and other organizations;
  3. To explore implications of IP access on public perceptions, regulatory politics, and, by extension, the incentives and risks for innovations that seek to use CRISPR to create a more sustainable agriculture.
Draft agenda: A draft agenda is available on the conference website

Confirmed speakers for the conference so far include:
  • Fan Li Chou, Biotechnology Advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture
  • Joanne Kamens, President, AddGene, USA
  • Matthias Müller, Open Innovation Initiative, Pioneer/Corteva Agrisciences, USA
  • Issi Rozen, Director of Licensing, The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University, USA
  • Robert Cook-Deegan, School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Arizona State University, USA
  • David Zilberman, University of California Berkeley, USA
  • Jake Sherkow, New York University, USA
  • Tania Bubela, Dean, School of Public Health, Simon Fraser University, Canada
  • Yoshiyuki Fujishima, New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization, Japan
  • Bo Heiden, Salgrehnska School of Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Osmat Jefferson, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
  • Emily Marden, University of British Columbia, Canada
  • Dianne Nicol, University of Tasmania, Australia
  • Geertrui Van Overwalle, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • David Winickoff, Secretary, Working Group on Bio, Nano, and Converging Technologies, OECD
  • Dominique Guellec, Head of Science and Technology Policy Division, OECD, and former Chief Economist, European Patent Office
Contact: For more information, please contact Gregory Graff, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Colorado State University,

Conference registration: Please register for the conference by Wednesday, September 25 at the conference website

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