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USPTO Board Invalidates RainDance Patent

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The US Patent and Trademark Office's Patent Trial and Appeal Board has invalidated a number of claims in a patent held by RainDance Technologies following an inter partes review of an intellectual property dispute between RainDance and 10x Genomics.

10x Genomics requested an inter partes review, which was granted last January, of RainDance's US Patent No. 8,658,430 B2, which concerns methods and systems for manipulating droplet size.

In the PTAB's decision, which was issued this week, the board wrote that 10x Genomics showed a "preponderance of the evidence" that claims 1 through 17 were unpatentable, due to their being obvious to a person with "ordinary skill in the art." Included in those claims are the use of droplets in microfluidic devices for chemical and biochemical reactions and assays, as well as for "lab on a chip" applications.

10x Genomics requested the inter partes review after RainDance and the University of Chicago sued 10x Genomics in 2015 for patent infringement on six patents that RainDance licensed from the university. That case is still making its way through the court and does not involve the '430 patent in the inter partes review.

It is unclear what impact this week's decision will have on the patent infringement lawsuit. In addition, this week Bio-Rad Laboratories said it had agreed to acquire RainDance for an undisclosed amount in part due to RainDance's intellectual property portfolio.