The CRISPR patent landscape: a South African perspective.
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The patent rights to CRISPR technology in different jurisdictions have been fought over tirelessly by both public and private actors. This battle has raised questions regarding the privatisation of publicly-funded research. Further complicating this landscape – these actors have implemented exclusive licensing regimes that many have argued serve as a hindrance to the access and development of CRISPR technology. Within this complex patent regime and the great potential that this technology has in the prevention and treatment of disease, it is important to consider: (1) whether this patent and licensing regime is serving the public interest; and (2) what impact these regimes will have on developing countries such as South Africa. In answering both of the above questions, I find that the current patent and licensing regimes are not conducive to the public interest, and further, may hold even more dire consequences for applications of CRISPR technology in developing countries.