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Eppendorf Sues Nanosphere for Array Patent Infringement

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By Justin Petrone

Eppendorf last week sued Nanosphere for allegedly infringing a patent related to screening assays on microarrays, according to court documents obtained by BioArray News.

The suit, filed July 10 in the US District Court for the District of Delaware, where Northbrook, Ill.-based Nanosphere is incorporated, alleges that Nanosphere's Verigene instruments and kits infringe Eppendorf's US Patent No. 7,321,829, "Method for the identification and/or the quantification of a target compound obtained for a biological sample upon chips."

The patent, awarded to Eppendorf in January 2008, describes a method for identifying and quantifying a target compound in a sample by labeling the target compound with a capture molecule containing a metal precipitate in order to allow a specific binding on an array of more than 20 sites.

Eppendorf has asked the court to rule that Nanosphere infringes the patent and has requested treble damages and coverage of attorney's fees.

Eppendorf Array Technologies, a wholly owned subsidiary of Eppendorf located in Namur, Belgium, is the owner of the '829 patent. The company manufactures a microarray system called Silverquant that uses a colorimetric silver-based staining technology to label its assays. Eppendorf sells several products for use on the Silverquant system, including arrays for surveying genetically modified organisms and transcription factors in stem cells.

Eppendorf has also licensed its Silverquant technology to other firms, such as Madison, Wis.-based Gentel Biosciences. Gentel this month launched its APiX Chromagenic Protein Array System, which uses Eppendorf's colorimetric technology (see BAN 2/3/2009, BAN 7/6/2009).

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