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Applera Sues Bio-Rad, MJ, Stratagene on Same Day It Wins RT-PCR Patent

NEW YORK, Nov. 11 (GenomeWeb News) - Earlier this week, Applera was granted a patent on its real-time PCR instrumentation. That same day, the company sued Bio-Rad, Bio-Rad subsidiary MJ Research, and Stratagene for allegedly infringing the patent.

The patent, US No. 6,814,934, "Instrument for monitoring nucleic acid amplification," was awarded Nov. 9. In a complaint filed with the District Court in Connecticut on that day and obtained by GenomeWeb News today, Applera alleges that MJ Research's Opticon, Opticon 2, and Chromo 4 systems; Bio-Rad's iCycler iQ and MyiQ instruments; and Stratagene's Mx4000 and Mx3000P instruments infringe the '934 patent.

The complaint seeks a permanent injunction against all three parties from infringing the patent and "an order that Bio-Rad, MJ Research, and Stratagene destroy their inventory of infringing instruments." In addition, the suit seeks "compensatory damages in the form of lost profits, but not less than a reasonable royalty" resulting from the infringement.

In a statement issued today, Stratagene said that it is "in the process of evaluating the allegations set forth therein and the prosecution history for the '934 patent."

The company noted that it is "a long-term licensee of Applied Biosystems, an operating group of Applera, for the manufacture, use and sale of thermal cyclers for use in PCR." Stratagene CEO Joseph Sorge said, "We hope to preserve our cooperative business relationship with both Applied Biosystems and Applera as we formulate an appropriate response and course of action."

Bio-Rad officials could not be reached for comment.

In June, ABI successfully obtained injunctions against Bio-Rad, MJ Research, and MJ Research distributor Biozym in Germany, prohibiting these companies from manufacturing and selling thermal cyclers for real-time PCR.