NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – A lawsuit filed in August that made broad claims of trade secret theft and fraud against Illumina, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Affymetrix, and individuals in the genomics industry was amended this week to name additional defendants and include additional information regarding the technology in question.
The plaintiffs — Monib Zirvi of Weill Cornell Medicine; Matthew Lubin, now an internist but previously director of medical genetics at Strang Cancer Prevention Center; and Maria Kempe of Lund University — are the same. But, they have now added John Stuelpnagel, one of Illumina's cofounders and currently chairman of 10x Genomics, as well as Robin Silva, who served as Illumina's attorney, as defendants in the suit. The initial and amended suits were filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.
As previously noted, aside from Illumina, Thermo, and Affymetrix, the suit includes former Illumina CEO Jay Flatley and other Illumina founders as well as Stephen Fodor, who at the time was chief technology officer of Affymetrix.
The amended complaint also includes additional details about the zip code sequences that Zirvi and Francis Barany developed in Barany's Weill Cornell Medicine lab.
The suit accuses Illumina of submitting patent applications that appropriated the plaintiffs' zip code sequence technology. The term zip code was changed and references to Barany's patent application were left out, the suit alleges.
The amended suit also added two counts, one specifically targeted at Silva, alleging that she intended to deceive the US Patent and Trademark Office in filing patent applications for Illumina. It also added a count of breach of confidence against Applied Biosystems, which is now owned by Thermo Fisher Scientific. The suit alleges that Barany shared confidential information with P. Biosystems Group (Applied Biosystems' former parent company), which it subsequently leaked to Illumina under a joint development agreement the companies signed in 2001.