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Judge Delays APBiotech Patents Trial Against Applied Bio

NEW YORK, Jan 26 - A trial to determine whether a patent Amersham Pharmacia Biotech holds for DNA chemistries is valid and enforceable has been delayed from January 29 until March, AP Biotech said Friday.

The judge in the jury trial, which stems from a lawsuit AP Biotech brought against Applied Biosystems and its sister company Celera, will use the extra time to decide whether the patent issue also includes Applied Biosystems’ soon-to-be-released Version 3 of  its “Big Dye” products.

In a pretrial ruling issued in December, US District Court Judge Charles Breyer held that Applied Biosystems’ BigDye DNA sequencing chemistries infringe upon AP Biotech’s energy-transfer fluorescent labeling patent, which it uses for labeling in its DYEnamic ET Terminator Kits. The judge, however, allowed the trial to go forward on the issue of whether AP Biotech’s patent is valid and enforceable.

AP Biotech previously said the decision impacts all of Applied Biosystems' Big Dye products currently sold by Applied Biosystems and used by Celera Genomics. The judge will now have to determine whether the decision also applies to Version 3 .

Applied Biosystems said at the time of the December ruling that it expects to prevail because it thinks AP Biotech’s patent is invalid and unenforceable.

In December Judge Breyer also rejected one of AP Biotech’s claims that Applied Biosystems is infringing on one of AP Biotech’s instrument patents through selling its ABI Prism 377 DNA sequencing system, but allowed another claim on this type of infringement to go forward. A separate claim by Applied Biosystems that AP Biotech is infringing on its patent through selling its MegaBACE DNA sequencing instrument will also go to trial.

The trial on the instrument claims will be conducted separately from the trial in the dye case.

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