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Pacific Biosciences Named Senior Party in Patent Interference with Life Technologies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Pacific Biosciences today said that it has been named the senior party in a patent interference declared by the US Patent and Trademark Office with Life Technologies.

The interference centers on methods of single molecule DNA sequencing and a patent held by Visigen Biotechnologies, which was acquired by Invitrogen for $20 million last October. Invitrogen is now a division of Life Technologies following that firm's merger with Applied Biosystems.

The patent — US No. 7,329,492, entitled "'Methods for real-time single-molecule sequence determination"' — was granted to Visigen in February 2008 and discloses a sequencing method that involves engineering of a polymerase or deoxy nucleotide triphosphates with detectable tags.

According to Pacific Biosciences, the USPTO granted the firm senior status in the interference because its patent covering a similar technology precedes the Visigen filing by nearly 20 months.

An interference is declared when the USPTO determines that a patent and patent application from two different filers are claiming the same invention. Statistics show that companies named senior party have a much greater chance of winning the US patent office's designation as original inventor.

"We remain highly confident in the strength of our intellectual property portfolio and are optimistic that our substantial lead in developing the technology at issue will result in a favorable outcome for our company in this case," Pac Bio Chairman and CEO Hugh Martin said in a statement.

There currently are no legal actions pending between Pac Bio, Visigen, or Life Technologies regarding the single-molecule sequencing technology or methods.

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