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In New Suit, Life Tech Claims Illumina's Genome Analyzer Infringes Amplification IP

This article has been updated to include a statement from Illumina.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - Life Technologies and several co-plaintiffs this week filed suit against Illumina for allegedly infringing three DNA-amplification patents.

The suit, filed in the US District Court for the District of Delaware, claims that Illumina and Solexa, which Illumina acquired in 2007, infringe US Patent Nos. 5,616,478; 5,989,698; and 6,001,568. All three patents relate to amplifying nucleic acids in a solid medium.

Plaintiffs on the suit include Life Tech's Applied Biosystems division; the Institute for Protein Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Pushchino, Russia; and three individuals — two of whom are listed as inventors on the patents.

Life Tech and co-plaintiffs claim that Illumina's DNA sequencing products and services, including its Genome Analyzer and Genome Analyzer II, infringe aspects of all three patents.

The plaintiffs have requested the court to determine that Illumina and Solexa have infringed the patents; that the companies be permanently restrained and enjoined from infringing the patents; that all infringing products be delivered to the plaintiffs for destruction; to award the plaintiffs damages; and to make the defendants cover attorneys' fees and other costs.

The suit is the second that Life Tech has filed in as many weeks. Last week it filed a complaint in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas Marshall Division that accused Biosearch Technologies with infringing five patents related to fluorescent probes used in real-time PCR.

It is also the second suit filed recently claiming that Illumina's Genome Analyzer infringes DNA amplification IP. In August, LadaTech filed suit in the US District Court of the District of Delaware charging that the Genome Analyzer and related products and services infringe US patent No. 6,107,023.

That patent, entitled "DNA Amplification and Subtraction Techniques," was originally awarded to Genelabs in 2000 and was the subject of a re-examination request filed by a third party on behalf of Illumina in January 2008.

Last month, the US Patent and Trademark Office issued a notice of intent to issue a re-examination certificate, confirming the patentability of the claims of the '023 patent and giving LadaTech the right to sue for infringement.

In a statement issed Wednesday evening, Illumina President and CEO Jay Flatley said that the firm will "vigorously" defend against the suit.

"We respect the valid and enforceable intellectual property rights of others and, consistent with that policy, we believe that we acted properly with respect to these patents," he said. "In the meantime, we will continue to defend and support our customers against Life Technologies' unfounded claims."