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Illumina Awarded $26.7M in NIPT Patent Suit Against Ariosa

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Illumina has won a patent infringement lawsuit against Roche's Ariosa Diagnostics related to the companies' noninvasive prenatal tests. A jury in the US District Court of the Northern District of California awarded Illumina $26.7 million in damages.

According to the lawsuit, Ariosa, which Roche acquired in 2014, infringed two patents originally held by Verinata Health, which Illumina acquired in 2013: US Patent No. 8,318,430 entitled "Methods of Fetal Abnormality Detection" and US Patent No. 7,955,794 entitled "Multiplex Nucleic Acid Reactions."

In the original lawsuit, filed in 2014, Illumina claimed that its '794 patent covered multiplexing methods for amplifying and genotyping samples simultaneously, and that Ariosa's test, which at the time was based on targeted sequencing, infringed because it enabled "simultaneous quantification of hundreds of DNA loci." In that suit, Illumina also claimed that Ariosa infringed on the '430 patent.

Illumina filed a second suit in 2015 after Roche had acquired Ariosa and converted its NIPT to run on a microarray. Illumina argued that the microarray version of the test also infringed on its '794 patent because it used the same technique as the sequencing-based test.

A jury sided with Illumina, agreeing that both Ariosa's sequencing-based and microarray-based tests most likely infringed on five claims in the '794 patent. The jury also agreed that the sequencing version of Ariosa's test infringed on three claims in the '430 patent.

Ariosa's counterclaim of a breach of contract was also rejected by the jury.

Kevin Marks, VP of general counsel for Roche Molecular Solutions, said in an email that the company is "disappointed with the recent decision in the US regarding its Harmony Test" and is "reviewing the decision and our legal options."