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Sequenom Sues Aria, Natera for Patent Infringement

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Sequenom has sued both Aria Diagnostics and Natera, accusing the companies of infringing a Sequenom patent with their respective noninvasive trisomy 21 and paternity tests.

In its complaint against Aria, filed with the US District Court for the Southern District of California, Sequenom alleges that Aria's prenatal trisomy test infringes its patent, US Patent No. 6,258,540, and that Aria's infringement has been "intentional, deliberate, and willful."

A second complaint against Natera alleges that Natera's noninvasive paternity test, which analyzes fragments of fetal DNA in maternal plasma from a blood draw, infringes the same patent. The suit also claims that Natera "knowingly encouraged others" to infringe when it licensed its test to paternity testing lab DNA Diagnostics Center.

In both suits, Sequenom has requested a judgment that the companies have infringed its patent, a permanent injunction that would restrain the companies from infringing, a monetary award sufficient to compensate Sequenom for the infringement and cover costs incurred because of the suit, as well as "increased damages" that are "not less than three times the amount of actual damages awarded to Sequenom" due to the companies' "willful infringement."

These suits follow pre-emptive suits filed by Aria and Natera in recent weeks against Sequenom requesting judgment that their respective tests do not infringe Sequenom's patent, and alleging that Sequenom has "misrepresented" the scope of its patent.

Sequenom Chairman and CEO Harry Hixson said recently at the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference that he believes any competitors that enter the market will be infringing the '540 patent.


For more on Sequenom's lawsuit see GenomeWeb Daily News sister publication Clinical Sequencing News.

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