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European Patent Office Revokes Second Pacific Biosciences Patent

NEW YORK – The European Patent Office this week revoked another patent held by Pacific Biosciences, according to Oxford Nanopore, the firm's main competitor.

The patent, EP3170904, "Compositions and methods for nucleic acid sequencing," relates to the construction of double-stranded DNA templates with hairpins on both ends for sequencing both the forward and reverse strand. 

This is the second PacBio patent revoked by the EPO this year. In January, the office revoked EP3045542, "Methods for nucleic acid sequencing," which also related to a method for converting double-stranded DNA fragments into a circle by adding hairpins to the ends.

In 2018, the companies had settled a lawsuit in Europe that involved the two patents. Under the terms of that agreement, Oxford Nanopore would not sell its 2D sequencing products, which PacBio had claimed infringe on the two patents, in the UK or in Germany through the end of 2023.

Earlier that year, the US International Trade Commission had determined that Oxford Nanopore's products do not infringe the US version of the two patents, US Patent No. 9,404,146 and US Patent No. 9,542,527. That decision hinged on the commission's interpretation of the term 'single-molecule sequencing' and was upheld in February by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Pacific Biosciences declined to comment on the EPO's revocation of its patent this week.