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BGI Countersues Illumina in Sequencing Technology Patent Infringement Suit

This article has been updated with information from Complete Genomics.

NEW YORK – BGI and its affiliates this week countersued Illumina in a patent infringement lawsuit that Illumina filed in June in a US district court.

In a filing with the US District Court for the Northern District of California on Monday, responding to Illumina's complaint, which was amended in mid-September, BGI Genomics, BGI Americas, MGI Tech, MGI Americas, and Complete Genomics denied infringement of Illumina's US Patent No. 7,566,537 and US Patent No. 9,410,200, both entitled "Labelled Nucleotides," and alleged that the two patents are invalid.

In addition, they claimed that Illumina's NovaSeq 6000, HiSeq X Ten, HiSeq 3000, and HiSeq 4000 sequencing systems infringe several claims of US Patent No. 9,944,984, "Methods and Compositions for Efficient Base Calling in Sequencing Reactions," which is assigned to Complete Genomics, and that Illumina's infringement has been willful.

The patent covers MGI's proprietary patterned array technology, Complete Genomics said in a statement. 

BGI and associates are asking for a jury trial, a declaration of infringement of the '984 patent, an order enjoining Illumina from further infringement, an award of triple damages, and an award of attorneys' fees.

"MGI has a core patent portfolio in the field of gene sequencing, and we are committed to protecting its intellectual property assets on a global scale," said Wei Wei, VP and general counsel of BGI Group, in a statement.

The counterclaims follow a separate lawsuit that Complete Genomics, MGI's US subsidiary, filed against Illumina in May, alleging infringement of its US Patent No. 9,222,132, "Methods and Compositions for Efficient Base Calling in Sequencing Reactions," which covers two-color sequencing technology.