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Illumina Files Patent Infringement Suit Against BGI Europe in Denmark

This article has been updated with a statement from BGI.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Illumina said today that it has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against BGI Europe, a subsidiary of BGI Group, in the Maritime & Commercial High Court of Denmark.

According to the complaint, BGI's sequencing products, including the BGISEQ-500 and MGISEQ-2000 instruments and related sequencing chemistry reagents of BGI Group subsidiary MGI Tech, infringe Illumina's European patent EP 3 002 289 B1, which covers sequencing-by-synthesis chemistry.

The complaint also alleges that BGI's use of the name MGISEQ infringes Illumina’s trademark for the MISEQ name, registered trademark No. 8972127.

This is the second patent infringement lawsuit that Illumina has filed against BGI this year. In March the company sued Latvia MGI Tech, another subsidiary of BGI Group, in a German court for alleged infringement of Illumina's European Patent EP 1 530 578 B1, which also covers sequencing-by-synthesis chemistry.

"As we have previously stated, Illumina will continue to vigorously protect our patented technology and file patent suits where appropriate when our patents are infringed," Charles Dadswell, senior vice president and general counsel of Illumina, said in a statement.

In a statement provided to GenomeWeb, BGI said that it has "great confidence" in its own technology, noting that MGI has invested more than RMB 5 billion ($720 million) into research and development for its sequencing technology.

"Regarding patent disputes, we are actively responding and will take corresponding legal actions," the statement said. "We will not rule out the use of legal power such as counterclaims to protect our legal rights."

MGI said earlier this year that it plans to start selling its sequencing instruments in North America and Europe. BGI Europe's Copenhagen laboratory currently has several MGI sequencing platforms installed but said that it only uses them for internal training purposes, not to provide commercial sequencing services.