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Illumina's Overseas NIPT Patent Suits Rescheduled to 2017

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Separate lawsuits that Illumina has filed against several companies in the UK for allegedly infringing on three of its patents related to its noninvasive prenatal test will be heard in conjunction with each other in 2017.

At a case management conference held at the High Court in London, the court accepted Premaitha Health's proposal to hold a combined trial on the three patents: European Patent (UK) 0 994 963, European Patent (UK) 1 981 995, and European Patent (UK) 2 183 693, likely in the summer 2017. A previous trial date scheduled for October 2016 has been cancelled.

In the UK, Illumina has brought suits against Premaitha Health, Roche's Ariosa Diagnostics, TDL Genetics, and The Doctors Laboratory, which will now all proceed concurrently.

The court further accepted Premaitha's application to include an antitrust claim in its defense.

"We have long believed that Illumina's motivation in pursuing these claims is to protect and extend its dominant position in the next-generation sequencing market," Premaitha CEO Stephen Little said in a statement. "If such anticompetitive conduct is allowed to go unaddressed by the UK courts, it will have severe repercussions for the noninvasive prenatal screening market, reducing choice and slowing down innovation in the clinical management of pregnant women."

Illumina declined to comment on Premaitha's antitrust claims. It has until May 28 to present any arguments to the court for why the antitrust claim should not be accepted.

Illumina first filed a patent lawsuit against Premaitha in March 2015, alleging infringement of two patents — the 963 and the 995 patent. In January, it filed patent infringement lawsuits in the UK against The Doctors Laboratory, TDL Genetics, and Ariosa, alleging those companies infringed on the 963 patent. At the same time, it sued two other European companies for using Premaitha's Iona NIPT in violation of the 693 patent.

At the case management conference, the court decided that rather than proceeding with the suits separately, they should all be heard together as the three patents are connected.

Little added that the cancellation of the October trial date would allow Premaitha to "continue to build on our current business momentum."