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In New Suit, Illumina Accuses Array Firm Illumavista of Trademark Infringement

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Illumina last week filed a suit against Illumavista Biosciences, accusing the 3-year-old Madison, Wis.-based array firm of trademark infringement, unfair competition, and false designation or origin.

Illumina filed its suit on Nov. 27 in the US District for the Western District of Wisconsin. In it, Illumina alleges that the defendant is "deliberately and willfully" using the name Illumavista to "pass its SNAP microarray technology and bioinformatics data analysis services off as those of Illumina."

Illumavista began offering its services last year. It refers to its array platform as SNAP, which stands for specificity and affinity for proteins. The arrays are tiled to survey every possible binding site in the genome, according to the firm's website, resulting in fluorescence intensities that correlate to solution binding affinities for each sequence, allowing users to predict where a molecule will bind in the genome.

The National Institutes of Health has awarded the company $370,000 to support several projects (BAN 11/15/2012 ).

According to Illumina, it "promptly contacted" Illumavista after learning of its services, which Illumina describes as "substantially similar" to the products and services that Illumina offers under its name and other marks registered to it, including IlluminaDx, IllumiNotes, IlluminaConnect, and IlluminaCompute.

"Despite Illumina's objections, without Illumina's authorization or consent, and with constructive and actual knowledge of Illumina's prior rights in the marks, [the] defendant nevertheless has continued to use the Illumavista mark in connection with microarray technology and bioinformatics data analysis services," Illumina's attorneys wrote in the complaint.

In addition to infringing Illumina's registered marks, the company claimed that Illumavista's name is "likely to cause confusion, mistake, or deception as to the affiliation, connection, or association" of Illumavista with Illumina, violating federal and state unfair competition law.

As part of its suit, Illumina is seeking that the court restrain Illumavista from using that name to market and sell its products and services. Illumina has also requested the court to award it damages and to cover its attorney's fees and costs related to the litigation.