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Genetic Technologies Files Patent Infringement Suit Against Several Firms

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Genetic Technologies last week filed a patent infringement suit against several firms — including Beckman Coulter, Gen-Probe, and Orchid Cellmark — alleging infringement of a patent held by the Australian firm.

Genetic Technologies filed the suit in the US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin on Friday. The company has alleged that several firms are infringing its US Patent No. 5,612,179, titled, "Intron Sequence Analysis Method for Detection of Adjacent Locus Alleles as Haplotypes."

In general, the patent relates to methods of analyzing non-coding DNA sequences.

Genetic Technologies has named several firms in the suit that are in the life sciences research, molecular diagnostics, and agricultural genomics market.

For example, it claims that Beckman Coulter's genomics services business utilizes a variety of commercially available instrument platforms that require Beckman to perform the step of amplification and enable analysis of non-coding segments of DNA. "Beckman's activities are an infringement of at least Claim 1 of the '179 Patent," Genetic Technologies asserted in the suit.

Meanwhile, agricultural giant Monsanto has been named in the suit for allegedly infringing the patent through its cattle genetics research programs.

In addition to these firms, the suit has named as defendants Interleukin Genetics, Molecular Pathology Laboratory Network, PIC USA, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, and Sunrise Medical Laboratories.

The patent at issue was previously asserted by Genetic Technologies in a suit brought against Applera, the former parent of Applied Biosystems, which is now part of Life Technologies. That suit ended with a settlement agreement in late 2005, under which Applera took a license to the '179 patent, among others.

Certain claims of the patent were recently subjected to a re-examination by the US Patent and Trademark Office, and according to Genetic Technologies, on Feb. 4, 2010, the USPTO confirmed the claims of the patent as valid without amendment.

The Australian firm has asked the court to find in its favor and declare that one or more claims of the '179 patent have been infringed by the defendants. It also has asked the court to award it damages and costs, including trebling the amount due to alleged willful infringement.

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