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Illumina Files Suit Alleging Ion Torrent Infringes IP

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Illumina this week filed a patent infringement suit against Life Technologies and two of its businesses for alleged infringement of a patent covering its bead arrays.

The suit, filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of California, claims that Life Technologies and its Applied Biosystems and Ion Torrent Systems businesses are infringing US Patent No. 7,060,431, which was filed in June 1999 and issued on June 13, 2006. The patent covers high-density bead array technology, wherein the beads do not comprise an optical signature.

Illumina alleges that Ion Torrent's Personal Genome Machine platform and OneTouch System platform incorporate dense arrays of beads without optical signatures, which it said infringes its '431 patent.

Life Tech acquired Ion Torrent in October 2010 for $375 million in cash and stock — but the total value of the deal could rise by another $350 million if certain technical and time-based milestones are met through 2012. The firm's Personal Genome Machine, a semiconductor chip-based sequencing platform that measures the release of hydrogen ions as nucleotides get incorporated by DNA polymerase, was launched two months later. The OneTouch is an automated template preparation device for the PGM.

Illumina is asking the court to declare that Life Technologies and its businesses are infringing the '431 patent. It is seeking an injunction against the defendants to prevent them from selling allegedly infringing products, and Illumina is asking the court to find the infringement willful. The firm is seeking pre- and post-judgment damages and has asked the court to declare the case exceptional, which would treble any damages awarded.

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