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Illumina Countersues IBS, Qiagen for Infringement of Sequencing Patents

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) — Illumina has countersued Intelligent Bio-Systems and Qiagen, claiming they infringe several of its sequencing-related patents, the company said today.

The suit follows several weeks after Qiagen acquired IBS, and a few months after Columbia University sued Illumina in March for allegedly infringing five sequencing patents licensed by IBS.

In counterclaims related to that suit, Illumina alleges that IBS and Qiagen infringe three of its patents — US Patent Nos. 7,057,026; 7,785,796; and 8,158,346; all entitled "Labelled Nucleotides" and all expiring in December 2022.

Illumina claims that these patents apply to the sequencing-by-synthesis technology used in the Max-Seq and Mini-20 sequencers that IBS has been developing.

Following its acquisition of IBS, Qiagen said that the companies are developing a new system that builds on elements of previous IBS designs, combined with Qiagen technologies. That system is expected to enter beta testing later this year and be launched commercially next year.

Illumina said it is seeking "all available remedies," including injunctive relief. It also denied all allegations of infringement that Columbia and IBS have made against it and claimed that Columbia's patents are invalid.

Illumina President and CEO Jay Flatley said in a statement that the company "strongly prefers" to compete in the marketplace rather than the court, but "we are determined to use our IP to protect our market position."