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Abbott Withdraws Opposition to Affymetrix Patents in Europe; CombiMatrix, PamGene Continue to Fight

NEW YORK, May 25 (GenomeWeb News) - Abbott Laboratories earlier this month withdrew its opposition to Affymetrix patents in Europe, according to documents filed with the European Patent Office and obtained by GenomeWeb News.


The withdrawal comes one month after  Affy licensed key array-related patents to Abbott.As GenomeWeb News reported in April, Affymetrix licensed a number of undisclosed patents to Abbott Molecular, a division of Abbott Laboratories, enabling Abbott to manufacture and sell comparative genomic hybridization microarrays, readers, and software for research and diagnostics.


According to EPO's online database, Abbott has withdrawn its opposition to two Affy patents: "Detection of nucleic acid sequences" (EP0834576) and "Identification of nucleic acids in samples" (EP0834575).


The EPO revoked the '576 patent in May 2005 after Applera, CombiMatrix, Abbott Laboratories, PamGene, and others successfully opposed it through the EPO's opposition division. Applera withdrew its opposition in February 2006 after obtaining a license to undisclosed Affy technology in December 2005.


Affy appealed the EPO's decision, but the remaining opponents continued their effort to oppose Affy's rights to enforce the '576 patent.


In a document filed on May 12 following Abbott's withdrawal, the EPO's appeals division stated that "the appeal proceedings will be continued between the remaining parties."

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