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Genetic Technologies Sues 10 Firms Alleging Patent Infringement

The story has been updated to include information about a settlement between Genetic Technologies and Orchid Cellmark.

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Australian genetics testing firm Genetic Technologies announced today it is suing 10 companies for allegedly infringing its primary non-coding DNA patent.

Defendants named in the suit are Agilent Technologies; Bristol-Myers Squibb; Eurofins STA Laboratories; GlaxoSmithKline; Hologic; Merial; Navigenics; Neogen; Pfizer; and 454 Life Sciences.

The lawsuit, filed on Wednesday in US District Court for the District of Colorado, is in addition to a similar suit filed in January in the US District Court for the Western District of Texas, alleging infringement of the same patent. The defendants in that case are American Esoteric Laboratories; Clinical Pathology Laboratories Southeast; Clinical Pathology Laboratories; East Side Clinical Laboratory; Fairfax Medical Laboratories; Pathology Laboratories; and Sonic Healthcare USA, according to court documents.

The suit centers on US Patent No. 5,612,179, titled "Intron Sequence Analysis Method for Detection of Adjacent Locus Alleles as Haplotypes," which relates to methods of analyzing non-coding DNA sequences.

Last month, Genetic Technologies concluded its lawsuit filed in February 2010 against a number of US companies alleging infringement on the same patent. Companies named as defendants in that case included including Gen-Probe, Beckman Coulter, and Orchid Cellmark, which is in the process of being bought by Laboratory Corporation of America. It settled its dispute with Genetic Technologies last month.

In its quarterly earnings document filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Orchid Cellmark said that it paid Genetic Technologies $750,000 as part of the settlement.

In a statement, Genetic Technologies said that since it filed its February 2010 lawsuit, it has secured approximately A$14.5 million ($15.4 million) in overall licensing revenues. To date, the licenses have generated a total of more than A$70 million, the company said.

Genetic Technologies CEO Paul MacLeman said that the new lawsuits "further build on our strategy of systematizing [the company's] existing successful out-licensing program, as we seek to maximize the value of the company's patents and consequent returns to its shareholders to finance the development of the company's cancer diagnostics strategy."