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LadaTech Claims Jury Finds Illumina Infringed Its Patents

This article has been updated with comments from Illumina.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – LadaTech today said that a jury has found in its favor in a patent infringement suit it brought two years ago against Illumina.

The Larchmont, NY-based firm, which is jointly owned by GlaxoSmithKline and IP Finance Holdings, initially filed the suit in August 2009 in the US District Court for the District of Delaware. It claimed that Illumina's Genome Analyzer and related products and services infringe US Patent No. 6,107,023, "DNA Amplification and Subtraction Techniques," which was issued in 2000 to Genelabs and was subsequently transferred to LadaTech.

Specifically, the patent covers a DNA amplification process required for the sample preparation and cluster station steps used in Illumina's DNA sequencing systems, said LadaTech.

In a statement released today, LadaTech said that the jury unanimously found that the LadaTech patent is valid and has been directly infringed by Illumina, and Illumina has contributed to and induced infringement by its customers. It also noted that in addition to the Genome Analyzer, Illumina's HiSeq and MiSeq platforms also infringe the LadaTech patent.

"This verdict is an important reaffirmation of the importance of the LadaTech patent," LadaTech CEO Nicholas Didier said in a statement. "This is further enhanced by the fact that in a recent re-examination proceeding in the US Patent and Trademark Office the patent claims were upheld over the prior art cited by Illumina."

"We disagree with and plan to appeal the present finding of infringement in this lawsuit, and note that this finding was made without consideration of the enforceability of the patent asserted by LadaTech," Illumina President and CEO Jay Flatley said in a statement after the close of the market Thursday. "We continue to feel very strongly about our position that LadaTech's allegations are without merit and we look forward to presenting our unenforceability defense, and ultimately to obtaining a favorable result to that effect."

Illumina noted that the decision regards its TruSeq sample preparation and cluster generation kits and products and does not include the firm's Nextera kits, which were not part of the lawsuit.

Illumina further noted that the damages phase would not proceed until 2013, after appeals are heard. It also said that it doesn't expect potential damages, if any, to have a significant effect on its financial results or liquidity.

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