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Invitrogen Wins One Patent Battle Against Clontech on Appeal; Status of Two Remaining Patents Unclear

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NEW YORK, Dec. 1 (GenomeWeb News) - Clontech's PowerScript products infringe a single patent held by Invitrogen, an appeals court has ruled, according to Invitrogen.


The decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which represents the latest step in the companies' 9-year-old court battle, found that the PowerScript technology infringes patent No. 6,063,608. The appeals court remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings, Invitrogen said.

Invitrogen sued Clontech on Dec. 31, 1996, for allegedly infringing the '608 patent as well as patents numbered 5,244,797 and 5,668,005, which together cover "improved reverse transcriptases that increase the length, yield and quality of cDNA produced from mRNA in a reverse transcription reaction," Invitrogen said.


Specifically, the IP relates to mutations that disable the RNase H activity of native reverse transcriptase, among other things, the company said, adding that it sells "more than 100 different products" based on the technology, including SuperScript RT and ThermoScript.


Invitrogen said Clontech's PowerScript products and their customers' use of them "are not licensed under these patents." It was not immediately clear whether the appeals court only ruled on the '608 patent and not the '707 or '005 patents, or whether it found differently for these remaining two pieces of IP.


Calls to Invitrogen, which is on the West Coast, or to Japan-based Takara Bio, which acquired Clontech from Becton Dickinson on Sept. 1, were not returned in time for deadline.

"As this case proceeds to the district court, we plan to vigorously pursue all available remedies for Clontech's infringement of our intellectual property," John Cottingham, senior vice president and general counsel for Invitrogen, said in a statement.

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