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Metabolon Sues Stemina for Patent Infringement

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Metabolomics diagnostics and services company Metabolon has sued Stemina Biomarker Discovery alleging infringement of two patents, a month-and-a-half after Stemina filed a lawsuit asking a federal court to find that it does not infringe on two sets of patents held by Metabolon.

In the lawsuit filed Friday in US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, Metabolon accuses Stemina of infringing US Patent No. 7,550,258 and US Patent No. 7,910,301. Both patents are titled "Methods for drug discovery, disease treatment, and diagnosis using metabolomics," and the inventors assigned the rights to the patents to Metabolon and the Cornell Research Foundation.

Research Triangle Park, NC-based Metabolon said in its complaint that Stemina infringes the '258 patent by offering, selling, and providing in the US metabolomics services, including services using brain tumor stem cells, human embryonic stem cells, and human and animal tissue and fluid.

Stemina, it added, infringes the '301 patent by offering, selling, and providing in the US metabolomic services, including those that use human embryonic stem cells. Metabolon is asking the court to issue a permanent injunction against Stemina from further infringement of the patents, as well as damages.

The '258 and '301 patents relate to a method of identifying small molecules, which are modulated in altered states, according to their abstracts.

Prior to suing Stemina, Metabolon notified the Madison, Wis.-based company that it was infringing the two patents and unsuccessfully tried to negotiate a licensing deal covering the disputed IP as well as other Metabolon patents, it said.

In its complaint, Metabolon said that according to an agreement with the Cornell Research Foundation, Metabolon has the exclusive right to license the '258 and '301 patents, as well as the right to bring legal action alleging infringement of the patents, and the right to recover damages resulting from infringement.

Metabolon's lawsuit follows legal action by Stemina on July 11 in the same court seeking a determination that Stemina does not infringe on a total of 16 US patents held by Metabolon, including the two involved in last week's lawsuit.

Elizabeth Donley, founder and CEO of Stemina, told GenomeWeb Daily News today that the company does not believe it infringes on any of Metabolon's patents and has been in discussions to settle the matter amicably, but filed its lawsuit last month when it became apparent that that could not be achieved.

In addition to maintaining Stemina does not infringe the 16 patents, Stemina said in its complaint filed in July that Metabolon's patents are "invalid, void, unenforceable for failure to meet conditions for patentability" as specified by US patent code.

Donley said that she intends to continue pursue discussions with Metabolon to resolve the matter out of court.

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