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ABI, Roche Win $15.6M in Additional Patent-Infringement Damages from MJ Research; ABI Loses Real-Time PCR Patent in Japan

NEW YORK, April 4 (GenomeWeb News) - A US court has ruled that MJ Research and two of its founders must pay Applied Biosystems and Roche Molecular Systems an additional $15.6 million in damages for infringing several PCR-related patents, ABI said today. In addition, ABI reported that it has lost its real-time PCR patent in Japan.


The US District Court in New Haven, Conn., increased damages awarded to ABI and Roche in their PCR patent-infringement suit against MJ Research and Michael and John Finney, two company founders, to approximately $35.4 million plus attorneys' fees. A year ago, a court jury had awarded the companies $19.8 million in damages.


The judge also dismissed all of MJ Research's antitrust counterclaims against ABI and Roche. ABI has filed for an injunction against further infringement by MJ Research, which was acquired by Bio-Rad Laboratories last summer after MJ had declared bankruptcy in March.


Bio-Rad said in August that it has acquired MJ Research for $32 million in cash "and the assumption of certain liabilities of those companies, including liabilities related to certain patent infringement litigation to which MJ Research is a party, plus a cash earn-out based on the outcome of such litigation."


Applera, ABI's parent, and Roche originally filed the suit in 1998. MJ Research counterclaimed that ABI licensed and enforced its patents through anticompetitive conduct.


ABI also said today that the Japanese Patent Office has held invalid Applera's Japanese patent No. 3136129, which covers real-time PCR technology. Applera said it intends to appeal the decision. The European Patent Office reached a similar verdict on the equivalent patents in Europein December, based on prior art. ABI's US patent on real-time PCR technology is still valid.

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