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KeyGene Asks Court to Dismiss it From NuGen Patent Suit

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – KeyGene has asked a US District Court to dismiss it from a patent lawsuit filed by NuGen Technologies, arguing that it should not be a defendant in the litigation because it does not control the intellectual property in question.

In January, NuGen filed a complaint in the US District Court for the Northern District of California seeking a ruling that it did not infringe two US patents assigned to KeyGene NV, the Dutch parent organization of Maryland-based KeyGene. The first — No. 9,702,004 — claims a method for the high-throughput discovery, detection and genotyping of one or more genetic markers in single or multiple samples. The other — No. 9,745,627 — covers a method for identifying gene mutations in members of mutagenized populations. The suit, which names both KeyGene and KeyGene NV as defendants, also asks to have the patents invalidated.

In the lawsuit, NuGen said it was contacted by KeyGene representatives in late 2017 and told that certain of its next-generation sequencing products use methods covered by the patents. The KeyGene representatives further indicated that patent-infringement litigation might be forthcoming, according to NuGen. In response, NuGen filed its suit.

But last week, KeyGene asked the court to remove it from the case because it is neither the owner nor the exclusive licensee of the IP. KeyGene argued that the US Patent Act limits the right to sue over patent infringement to the patentee and their successors in title, adding that "the only relationship that Keygene ... appears to have to this litigation is that it is a US subsidiary of Keygene NV, the owner of the patents-in-suit."

KeyGene NV said in a statement today that it considers NuGen's suit lacking in merit, and that it intends to "vigorously defend its patents, of which several have been challenged and all upheld."

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