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Federal Court Whittles Down Fluidigm Lawsuit Against IonPath

NEW YORK – A federal judge has narrowed a patent infringement lawsuit filed by Fluidigm by dismissing some of the firm's claims against competitor IonPath. Fluidigm's allegations of direct infringement remain, however, and the court did leave open the possibility for the firm to file an amended complaint to address the deficiencies in the case.

On Friday, following a hearing the day before, Judge William Alsup of the US District Court for the Northern District of California granted defendant IonPath's motion to dismiss claims of intentional interference with contractual relations, contributory infringement, induced infringement, and enhanced damages.

Fluidigm sued IonPath in September, alleging infringement of two patents for mass cytometry technology and tortious interference with Fluidigm's contractual relationships with customers.

IonPath, based in Menlo Park, California, is commercializing MIBIscope, a mass spectrometry-based multiplexed protein imaging system that the firm says will compete with Fluidigm's Hyperion mass cytometry platform.

Alsup noted, "defendant does not challenge patent owners' claims of direct infringement, thus those claims proceed."

He also gave Fluidigm permission to file an amended complaint by Feb. 13. "This order highlighted certain deficiencies in the amended complaint," Alsup wrote, "but it will not necessarily be enough to add sentences parroting each missing item identified herein. If patent owners move for leave to file yet another amended complaint, they should be sure to plead their best case."