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Eppendorf Says it Gets Import Ban on Nanosphere Products in EU, Germany

This article has been updated from a previous version to include comments from Nanosphere.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Eppendorf said today that it has initiated an import ban against molecular diagnostics workstations and kits sold by Nanosphere because they allegedly infringe patents owned by Eppendorf that relate to microarray-based products.

The import ban covers any and all imports of Northbrook, Ill.-based Nanosphere's Verigene and Verigene SP systems into any country of the European Union, Eppendorf said.

According to the company, customs authorities are required to confiscate any violating products. However, Eppendorf did not provide details about whether a government or other regulatory agency promulgated the ban.

In a statement, Nanosphere said that no IP litigation had been filed against it in Europe, "nor have we been notified of any ban on the sale of our products."

Eppendorf said that the Verigene products infringe European patent EP1179180 B2, entitled "Method for the identification and/or the quantification of a target compound," which covers Eppendorf's Silverquant microarray-based colorimetric detection technology.

Eppendorf, based in Hamburg, Germany, features the technology in its Silverquant scanner and detection kits, and has licensed the technology to a pair of companies for commercialization with their microarrays, Eppendorf said.

In addition, Eppendorf said it has successfully initiated an import ban in Germany against Nanosphere's Verigene kits based on the German utility model DE 20023342U1, which also covers Eppendorf's Silverquant products.

"Considering Nanosphere's announcement of having received the CE mark for the Verigene system, Eppendorf has taken these steps to prevent the introduction of these products that are not licensed to use our patented technology into the European Union", Sven Bulow, Managing Director of Eppendorf Biochip Systems, said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Eppendorf filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Nanosphere in a US district court, claiming that Nanosphere willfully infringed a US patent also covering the Silverquant technology. That lawsuit is ongoing.

"There has been no decision reached on the alleged patent infringement litigation filed against [Nanosphere] here in the US, which we believe is totally without merit and which we will continue to defend against vigorously," Nanosphere said in a statement.

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