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RainDance, U Chicago Sue 10X Genomics for Patent Infringement

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – RainDance Technologies and the University of Chicago are suing 10X Genomics, alleging it infringes six patents. 

In the lawsuit filed today in the US District Court for the District of Delaware, the plaintiffs accuse 10X of infringing US Patent No. 8,273,573; No. 8,304,193; No. 8,329,407; No. 8,822,148; No. 8,889,083; and No. 7,129,091. The patents were licensed exclusively to RainDance by the University of Chicago. 

According to each patent's abstract, the inventions provide "microfabricated substrates and methods of conducting reactions within these substrates. The reactions occur in plugs transported in the flow of a carrier-fluid." 

The plaintiffs also alleged that 10X had knowledge of each of the six disputed patents and cited them in its patent applications to the US Patent and Trademark Office for its technology. 

RainDance and the University of Chicago are asking the court to find 10X guilty of willful infringement of their patents. They also seek an injunction against 10X and enhanced damages up to and including trebling of the damages awarded to them, as well as other fees and expenses. 

The plaintiffs are suing 10X before the company has officially launched its platform, though in their complaint, RainDance and the university said that the instrument was launched in January. A 10X spokesperson confirmed today that 10X will unveil the platform at the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology conference later this month. 10X Co-founder and CEO Serge Saxonov told GenomeWeb last month that its platform would cost $75,000. 

In a statement today, Saxonov said that the company has not yet seen the lawsuit. "However, based upon the assertions in RainDance Technologies' press announcement, we are firmly of the view that our products do not infringe any claims of any of the asserted patents, and to the extent that RainDance is attempting to extend those claims to try to cover our products, we believe that the claims are invalid," he said. "We are confident that we will establish both of these points in vigorously defending ourselves in any suit that may arise." 

Based in Pleasanton, Calif., 10X has developed a synthetic long-read technology that, when used in conjunction with existing next-generation sequencing instruments, would allow researchers to generate information about the human genome. Its technology, Saxonov told GenomeWeb last month, leverages existing short-read NGS technology but fills in knowledge gaps by taking a DNA sample and partitioning the molecules in a massively parallel manner. Each partition has its own barcode, and once the partitioning is completed, the fragments are then pieced together into a long read. 

Saxonov, along with Kevin Ness and Ben Hindson founded 10X in 2012 after leaving digital PCR firm QuantaLife, which was bought by Bio-Rad Laboratories in late 2011. 

The firm raised $55.5 million in a Series B financing round last month and has raised about $80 million since its founding.