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Becton Dickinson Sues Beckman Coulter Over Flow Cytometry Dye IP

NEW YORK – Becton Dickinson has sued Danaher subsidiary Beckman Coulter alleging infringement of 13 patents related to flow cytometry.

In documents filed last week with the US District Court for the Southern District of California, BD alleged that Beckman Coulter's SuperNova fluorescent polymer dye technology infringes on BD patents pertaining to dye chemistries. The SuperNova dyes are used in Beckman's flow cytometry technology, CytoFlex, which launched commercially in March.

The lawsuit accuses Beckman of "developing and launching copycat polymer dye products," and seeks a permanent injunction against further infringement as well as "treble damages" due to alleged willful and deliberate infringement.

The 13 allegedly infringed patents include US patent numbers 8,362,193; 8,455,613; 8,575,303; 9,139,869; 9,547,008; 10,094,838; 10,288,620; 10,302,648; 10,365,285; 10,458,989; 10,641,775; 10,955,417; and 10,962,546.

The BD polymer dye chemistries allegedly infringed were originally developed by BD subsidiary Sirigen.

"These dyes allow scientists efficiently to label and detect biological materials of interest in a sample, including small populations of difficult to detect proteins and cells," the lawsuit noted.

"For BD, this pioneering technology has opened the door to new business opportunities and provided a competitive advantage, allowing it to build market leadership and strengthen its brand as the innovator in flow cytometry reagents, both in the research-use-only market as well as the clinical diagnostics market," the lawsuit further stated.

In the lawsuit, BD alleges that Beckman has launched a dye called SuperNova v428, that Beckman markets as "equivalent" to BD's Brilliant Violet 421, which was BD's first polymer dye product and the base dye for its Brilliant Violet product line. Beckman has also launched two dyes called SuperNova v605 and SuperNova v786, which combine its SuperNova v428 polymer dye with a second fluorescent dye, according to the lawsuit, and Beckman is marketing these products in direct competition with BD as "equivalent" to its BV605 and BV786 dyes.

BD also filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Beckman earlier this month in Delaware alleging products in Beckman's new CytoFlex cell analyzing and sorting line infringe four of BD's patents.

In the California suit, BD asserts that the jurisdiction is appropriate because Beckman has a facility in Carlsbad, California, and that Beckman is allegedly infringing on patents in this district.

As an example, BD noted that Beckman held a webinar on June 10 to promote SuperNova dyes.

According to the lawsuit, Beckman's webinar described the dyes as, "A must for lab managers who are developing multicolor flow cytometry panels and are interested in the latest innovations in flow cytometry." Further, BD's lawsuit asserts that in connection with this webinar Beckman offered to send SuperNova Dyes to the attendees of the webinar, and that at least one participant attending the webinar was from the Southern District of California.

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