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Helicos Sues PacBio for Alleged Patent Infringement

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Helicos has sued Pacific Biosciences for allegedly infringing four patents related to its sequencing-by-synthesis technology, and for "actively inducing" infringement by third parties that have placed orders for PacBio machines.

Helicos filed the suit last Friday in the US District Court for the District of Delaware. It claims that Pacific Biosciences is infringing claims in four of its US Patents: numbers 7,645,596; 7,037,687; 7,169,560; and 7,767,400.

The company says PacBio infringes these claims by "making, using, offering to sell, and selling its SMRT technology for single-molecule sequencing of DNA."

According to the complaint, some of the specific aspects of PacBio's technology that allegedly infringe on Helicos' patents are in its use of labeled nucleotides to help determine a sequence, its "short cycle methods for sequencing polynucleotides," and its use of paired-end reads.

Additionally, Helicos claims that PacBio has contributed to, and is "actively inducing," the infringement of its patents by other parties that have placed orders for PacBio machines. The customers include Baylor College of Medicine, the Broad Institute, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute, The Genome Center at Washington University, Monsanto, the National Cancer Institute, the National Center for Genome Resources, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Stanford University, and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

None of these customers is listed as defendants in the suit.

Helicos filed the suit around a week after PacBio filed documents with the US Securities and Exchange Commission stating its plans to raise about $200 million in an initial public offering of its common stock (IS 8/24/2010). In its suit, Helicos cited claims that PacBio made in its document as proof that it has infringed the four patents.

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