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Invitae Sues Natera Over Alleged Infringement of Sequence Assembly Patents

NEW YORK – Invitae has filed a lawsuit against Natera in the US District Court for the District of Delaware, alleging that the firm infringes two of its patents covering DNA sequence assembly.

Specifically, the lawsuit cites Invitae's patents 11,149,30,308 and 11,155,863, both titled "Sequence assembly" and granted last month. The patents comprise novel techniques for improving the performance of DNA sequencing technology "so that mutations in an individual’s DNA can be identified with enhanced specificity," according to the complaint.

The move follows a prior suit, filed by Invitae this May, which focused on a single patent, 10,604,799, also covering sequence assembly techniques.

In the new suit, Invitae argued that the techniques described in the '308 and '863 patents improve upon prior methods via the use of a "multi-step assembly approach" that groups DNA sequencing reads into contigs, aligns the contigs to a reference genome, and then realigns the original reads to the contigs.

According to Invitae, the techniques described are not routine or conventional, nor are they "directed to an abstract idea or natural law."

The company has asserted that Natera has infringed and continues to infringe one or more claims of the ’308 and '863 patents by performing its Signatera cancer liquid biopsy test, which it launched in 2017.

Invitae wants the court to find that the two patents are valid and that Natera has infringed them. It is also seeking damages and other costs, as well as an order enjoining Natera from infringing its patent.

A Natera spokesperson said in an email that the company believes all three patents asserted in the two lawsuits are invalid and expects "that the court will decide the same in due course."  

"In the meantime, Natera will continue to aggressively pursue its separate patent enforcement action against Invitae, now set for trial in May 2022," the firm said.

Invitae was not available for comment before deadline.

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