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Illumina Sues BGI in Germany for Patent Infringement

This article has been updated with a comment from BGI.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Illumina has filed a lawsuit against BGI Group subsidiary Latvia MGI Tech in the Düsseldorf Regional Court in Germany, alleging that BGI's sequencing products and related reagents infringe a patent Illumina holds in Europe, EP 1 530 578 B1, which covers sequencing-by-synthesis chemistry.

"Illumina will not tolerate the unauthorized, infringing use of its patented technology," Charles Dadswell, senior vice president and general counsel for Illumina, said in a statement. "We will continue to monitor the field and file patent suits where appropriate when our patents are infringed."

Illumina said that the '578 European patent has previously been upheld and that its US counterpart patent was affirmed by the US Patent Trial and Appeal Board last year. BGI had petitioned for an inter partes review of Illumina's US Patent No.: 7,566,537 B2 in 2017, and in 2018 the PTAB denied BGI's request.

Illumina was also previously involved in patent disputes with Complete Genomics, before BGI acquired it, initially suing Complete Genomics in 2010 and then again in 2012. Those suits were ultimately settled in 2013.

The Latvia operations of MGI Tech were established to prepare the firm for instrument sales in Europe. MGI recently told GenomeWeb that the facility will become operational by the end of this year.

"We have not received any legal complaint, and we will respond appropriately when we do," MGI said in a statement.