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BYU, Torion File Mass Spec IP Suit Against Hitachi

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Brigham Young University and Utah-based Torion Technologies have filed a lawsuit against Hitachi High Technologies America alleging that it infringes their patent covering an ionization source for mass spectrometry experiments.
The suit, filed in the US District Court for the District of Utah, Central Division, alleges that Hitachi’s NanoFrontier eLD LCMS and its RF ECD, which enables electron capture dissociation in a radiofrequency linear ion trap, infringe US Patent No. 7,060,987. The patent is held by BYU and is exclusively licensed to Torion, which is developing mass spec systems for the defense and security markets.
According to the lawsuit, Hitachi’s US Patent No. 7,309,860 was issued to the firm in December 2007 and covers mass spec technologies already covered in the ‘987 patent, which was issued in June 2006. Furthermore, the lawsuit states that the US Patent Office issued an Office Action in November 2006 rejecting the claims of the ‘860 patent. BYU and Torion claim that Hitachi subsequently amended the claims of its patent “in an attempt to overcome the rejections set forth by the Examiner, and more specifically to overcome the rejections based on the ‘987 patent as the primary reference.”
The plaintiffs also claim that Hitachi continues to sell its devices even though the firm knew as of November 2006 that its products infringed the claims of the ‘987 patent.
BYU and Torion have asked the court to declare that the ‘987 patent is valid and is infringed by Hitachi. In addition, it is seeking a judgment that Hitachi has induced others to infringe the patent and that it has contributorily infringed the patent.
The plaintiffs also have asked the court to issue an injunction barring Hitachi from selling the products listed in the suit and that the court award them treble damages based on Hitachi’s alleged willful infringement.

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