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Blue Heron Calls Codon IP Lawsuit 'Baseless' and 'Without Merit'

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) –  Blue Heron Biotechnologies yesterday said that a patent-infringement lawsuit filed against it by Codon Devices and two major universities is “baseless” and “without merit.”
As GenomeWeb News reported yesterday, Codon, Duke University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology allege that Blue Heron is infringing five US Patents relating to synthetic nucleic acid technologies.
In a statement on its website, Blue Heron said “there is no basis for the allegations of patent infringement.”
CSO John Mulligan said Blue Heron “has always maintained the highest levels of integrity in matters of intellectual property,” and said the company “intends to vigorously defend against these baseless claims of patent infringement.”
The company said it expects the lawsuit to have “no material impact” on its business.

The suit, filed in a US District Court in
Delaware, claims that Blue Heron is infringing on four Duke patents used to map gene mutations, manipulate genes, and fractionate DNA molecules.

The claimants also say Blue Heron is infringing an MIT patent used to screen for genetic variation.

Condon disclosed the suit in a statement yesterday, but listed only itself as a plaintiff. Court documents obtained by GenomeWeb News show that
DukeUniversity and MIT are also plaintiffs in the case.

The plaintiffs claim that Blue Heron, by using its GeneMaker platform to hybridize and synthesize oligonucleotides and build genes from duplexes, is infringing these patents, some of them willfully.

In the complaint, Codon, Duke, and MIT seek damages and a permanent injunction that would bar Blue Heron from using the IP.

The patents, which cover DNA error correction technologies, include US Patent Nos. 5,459,039; 5,556,750; 5,679,522; 5,702,894; and 5,750,335, all of which are exclusively licensed to Codon Devices, Codon said in a statement.