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Federal Court Finds Illumina Did Not Infringe Three Life Tech Patents

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A federal court judge has granted Illumina's motion for summary judgment that its sequencing technology does not infringe three Life Technologies patents.

In the decision handed down on Wednesday, Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo of the US District Court for the Southern District of California said that Illumina does not infringe US Patent Nos. 5,616,478; 5,958,698; and 6,001,568 held by Life Technologies.

"The court finds that in applying the construed claims of each of the asserted
independent claims of the patents at issue, Life Tech cannot establish, as a matter of law, that the accused Illumina systems infringe" the patents, Bencivengo wrote in her decision.

In a statement to GenomeWeb Daily News, Life Tech said, "We respectfully do not agree with the decision by the court, and are evaluating various options including appeal."

Life Tech and its co-plaintiffs sued Illumina in September 2009 alleging infringement of the three patents which pertain to methods of amplifying nucleic acids in a solid medium. Specifically, Life Tech argued that Illumina's Genome Analyzer and Genome Analyzer II next-generation sequencing platforms as well as other products infringed the patents.

Along with Life Tech and its Applied Biosystems business, plaintiffs in the lawsuit included the Institute for Protein Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Pushchino, Russia, Alexander Chetverin, Helena Chetverina, and William Hone.

Solexa, which Illumina acquired in 2007, was also named as a defendant in the case.

In a statement after the close of the market on Thursday, Illumina President and CEO Jay Flatley said that the ruling vindicates his firm. "While our policy is to respect the valid and enforceable intellectual property rights of others, and take licenses where appropriate, this case demonstrates we are determined to defend vigorously any unfounded claims of infringement."