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Gen-Probe Slaps BD with Second MDx Patent-Infringement Suit

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Gen-Probe this week filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Becton Dickinson alleging that the company's BD MAX system infringes upon several patents owned by Gen-Probe that are related to its Tigris molecular diagnostics blood-screening system.

It is the second patent-infringement lawsuit filed by Gen-Probe against BD in the past six months. The first lawsuit, filed in October, alleges that certain other BD instrument platforms infringe upon the same and additional Gen-Probe patents.

The new suit, filed Tuesday in the US District Court for the Southern District of California, alleges that the sales of the BD MAX nucleic acid testing system — formerly known as the HandyLab Jaguar system — infringes US Patent Nos. 7,118,892; 7,482,143; 7,524,652; and 7,560,255.

In its complaint Gen-Probe alleges that BD "has actual knowledge" of the aforementioned patents; has "manufactured, distributed, and sold those nucleic acid testing systems and companion assays specifically for uses that practice" the patents; and has "provided written instructions to the users of such systems and assays with the specific intent to encourage those users" to practice the patents.

BD acquired HandyLab for $275 million in cash in November 2008, primarily for the Jaguar system, which incorporates sample preparation, nucleic acid extraction, microfluidic real-time PCR amplification, and detection into a single automated platform.

BD said at that time that it would move its BD GeneOhm assays for methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium difficile, and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus to the HandyLab platform and rename it the BD Max.

It is unclear whether BD is currently marketing or selling the BD Max, although it does have a page dedicated to the new platform on its website. A company spokesperson was unable to be reached for comment.

In both suits, Gen-Probe has asked the court to find that BD has infringed and continues to infringe all of the patents listed in the complaints; to enjoin BD from further alleged infringement; and to award Gen-Probe unspecified damages. Gen-Probe also asserts in its suits that BD has willfully infringed its patents, and as a result it should be awarded treble damages.

A more detailed version of this article will be available today on GenomeWeb Daily News sister publication PCR Insider.

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