The Broad's CRISPR patent: The curious case of the missing declaration

An eagle-eyed Katfriend yesterday alerted IPKat to a curious declaration published on the EP register for The Broad’s European CRISPR patent (EP2771468). Earlier this year, the opposition board revoked the patent for invalid priority (IPKat post here).

The Declaration, which has now disappeared from the register, purports to be in the name of Thomas Kowalski, the US Patent Attorney who filed the PCT application from which the EP patent is derived (PCT/US 2013/074819). The declaration was posted to the EPO with an accompanying letter on headed note paper from a European patent attorney firm.

The first page of the declaration includes the standard wording, referencing the relevant applications and the professional background of Thomas Kowalski. The second page, however, makes a variety of statements about and towards Kowalski himself and the Broad Institute. It alleges that Kowalski was responsible for not naming the correct applicants on the PCT application. There then follows the standard paragraph for US declarations that the above is declared under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America and that the foregoing is true and correct. The declaration is dated 15 June 2018 and purportedly signed with Kowalski’s signature. 

What seems clear to this Kat, and all those who have been commenting on the bizarre filing on Twitter, is that the declaration could not possibly be from Mr Kowlaski.  So what happened?  Who would file such a document and with what motivation? Was it a joke, a mistake, a serious attempt at sabotage? Filing a false declaration is by no-means a trivial act at the EPO. This Kat would be interested to hear readers views and insights as to what happened.

The Broad's CRISPR patent: The curious case of the missing declaration The Broad's CRISPR patent: The curious case of the missing declaration Reviewed by Rose Hughes on Friday, June 15, 2018 Rating: 5


  1. Makes no difference if the declaration was filed by the named person or by somebody else for whatever reason, and it makes no difference whether the information regarding responsibility for the error was true, false, or a mixture thereof. The PCT applicant was not entitled to claim priority.

    Is this an attempt to persuade the EPO to fix a mistake of an attorney? Where would they get such an idea from? It isn't as if the UK Supreme Court mis-applied, mis-interpreted and stuck a spanner of the smooth workings of the law to fix the errors made by Eli Lilly's attorneys.

    I write this comment knowing it is unlikely to ever see the light of day as it hasn't been written by a member of the selected few; the Kat In-Crowd.

  2. It is most unlikely that a letter received at the EPO on paper by post on the 15th to be available on line in the Register on the very same day.

    A letter dated 15 June 2018 but which was received before that date is also fishy.

    I can't find the "Twitter" discussion you referred to. Can you provide a link?

  3. My suspicion: somebody who was set to make a ton of licensing money out of this European patent has been disappointed (to put it mildly) by the OD Decision to revoke the patent.

    The disappointed angry man composed and "filed" the "fake" Declaration as an act of revenge against the person he holds responsible for blowing this chance to accrue obscene wealth.

    I don't know about Twitter. So tell me, what alternative theories do other readers have?

  4. Those who would comment are handicapped by their ignorance of the text of the fake Kowalski Declaration. I have seen it. It is scatological in tone and its intent is to make Attorney Kowalski look incompetent and ridiculous. The EPO was right, immediately to delete it. As commenters observe, it adds nothing useful to the case.

    Otherwise though, it's useful. As a Wake-Up call to what we patent attorneys increasingly must contend with in our brave new "Fake News" and "Alternative Facts" internet world.

  5. Roufousse, the date 15 June 2018 is easily explained. It is a "cut and paste" job, performed on an earlier Kowalski Declaration on the EPO file, with just the last number in the year changed to an "8".

  6. It is not ignorant to comment on something one cannot see, but only to comment on what one can see, but chooses not to.

    In any case, the comments are on the blog, and are not presumptuous of the contents of the document, so stop being supercilious Max. The document may never even have existed.

  7. I rescind my likely mis-interpretation of Max's comment.


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