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Enzo Claims Victory in Markman Ruling in ABI Suit; Licenses Six More RNA-Amplification Patents

This article has been updated to clarify the fact that the ruling was not sent for immediate appeal to the Federal Circuit, as originally reported, but was certified for immediate repeal.
NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - Enzo Biochem said today that a US District Court has ruled in its favor in the claims-construction phase of an ongoing patent-infringement suit against Applera's Applied Biosystems group and its Tropix subsidiary.
Separately today, the company said that it has acquired a license from LBS Technologies to six patents protecting an RNA amplification technology for gene expression analysis. 
In the patent-infringement case, currently pending in the US District Court for the District of Connecticut, New Haven Division, a Markman ruling to define the interpretations of the disputed patents "adopted substantially all of Enzo's constructions of key patent claim terms," the company said.
The patents in the case are US Patent Nos. 5,328,824; 5,449,767; 5,476,928; 4,711,955; 5,082,830; and 4,994,373, which relate to methods and materials for detecting nucleic acid sequences.
Enzo claims that a number of ABI's DNA sequencing products and systems -- including its TaqMan genotyping and gene expression arrays and Expression Array System -- infringe the patents.
However, since the Connecticut court’s interpretation of five of the disputed claims conflicts with the construction of the same patents issued this past summer by a New York court, the Connecticut court certified the ruling for immediate appeal to the Federal Circuit, according to court documents.
In a separate announcement today, Enzo said that it has acquired a license from LBS Technologies to an RNA amplification technology for gene expression analysis. 
The non-PCR based amplification process "allows researchers to increase amplification from relatively small RNA samples in gene expression studies," the company said in a statement.
The technology "is expected to impact favorably on usage and sales of our proprietary array amplification kits," Carl Balezentis, president of Enzo Life Sciences, said.
Enzo's license includes rights to six US Patents: Nos. 5,021,335; 5,168,038; 5,545,522; 5,716,785; 5,891,636; and 6,291,170.
The patent portfolio covers methods for amplifying the level of RNA in cells "to amounts that can produce gene expression patterns in microarrays and other applications," Enzo said.
Enzo said that the linear amplification technology offers benefits over exponential techniques, such as RT-PCR, because it maintains the relative ratios of the starting RNA population, "thereby allowing for more accurate expression profile studies."

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