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Becton Dickinson Sues Beckman Coulter Over Cell Analysis, Sorting IP

NEW YORK – Becton Dickinson has filed a lawsuit against Danaher subsidiary Beckman Coulter over alleged intellectual property infringement related to cell analyzing and sorting.

The suit was filed in the US District Court for the District of Delaware and claims products in Beckman's CytoFlex line infringe four of BD's patents.

The specific patents allegedly infringed were issued between 2004 and 2010, and include US patent numbers 6,683,314; 7,129,505; 7,201,875; and 7,787,197.

In the lawsuit, BD claims that the CytoFlex platforms infringe its patents for the use of multiple wavelengths of laser light separated and transmitted using dichroic mirrors, ultimately detecting multiple fluorescent molecules in a sample. The firm also claims that the CytoFlex infringes BD's patents for fluidics technology.

BD notes in its lawsuit that it believes Beckman has been selling CytoFlex cell analyzer products since May 2015.

The lawsuit also highlights the commercial launch of CytoFlex cell sorter products on March 4, 2021, which was the date Beckman Coulter launched its CytoFlex SRT Benchtop Sorter. The product is Beckman's first benchtop cell sorter, according to a press release, and uses up to four lasers and 17 detection channels.

For the '197 patent — which BD was awarded in 2010 and pertains in part to the use of light focusing lenses — the firm notes that the sole inventor, Yong Qin Chen, founded Xitogen Technologies, a firm that was acquired by Beckman Coulter Life Sciences in 2014. BD claims Chen was employed by Beckman as its chief technical officer from 2014 through 2019 "and was involved in the design and development of flow cytometry products for Beckman."

"Despite Beckman's knowledge of the '197 patent, Beckman has actively induced and continues to actively induce others to make, use, sell, and/or offer to sell in the United States, and/or import into the United States, accused analyzer products, accused cell sorter products, associated products, and associated services in a manner that infringes one or more claims of the ’197 patent," BD alleged in the suit.

BD is demanding a permanent injunction and triple damages due to willful infringement.