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US Court Denies GlaxoSmithKline Motion to Dismiss Genetic Technologies Suit

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The US District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina has denied a motion brought by GlaxoSmithKline that sought to dismiss a patent infringement suit Genetic Technologies had filed against the drug giant two year ago.

Genetic Technologies filed its patent infringement suit against GSK in 2011 in the District Court of Colorado, but the case was subsequently moved to North Carolina. GSK was named as one of several defendants — including Agilent Technologies, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Hologic, among others — in a suit alleging that those firms infringed US Patent No. 5,612,179, which generally relates to methods of analysis of non-coding DNA sequences. Genetic Technologies owns the patent and has licensed rights to the IP to many firms, including several that have settled litigation with the Australian company by taking a license.

GSK had asked the court to dismiss the patent infringement suit earlier this year, claiming that Genetic Technologies' patent covered natural phenomena or laws of nature and was therefore not entitled to patent protection.

In its ruling last week, the North Carolina court said that Genetic Technologies "has alleged … that the methods of the patents were neither routine nor conventional and has included some facts which at least inferentially support that allegation." As a result, it dismissed GSK's motion.

The ruling is similar to one issued by the US District Court for the Northern District of California in March, denying Agilent's motion to have the case dismissed.

"With this success in removing another potential reason delaying negotiations, we are keen to renew settlement discussions," Genetic Technologies CEO Alison Mew said in a statement.

Earlier in the year, the US Patent and Trademark Office had confirmed the patentability of the claims of the '179 patent.