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MGI's US Subsidiary Files Patent Infringement Suit Against Illumina

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Complete Genomics, the US subsidiary of Chinese sequencing tech firm MGI, has filed a lawsuit against Illumina alleging patent infringement of its sequencing technology.

The complaint, filed yesterday in the US District Court of the State of Delaware, alleges that Illumina's two-channel sequencing systems, which include the NovaSeq 6000, NextSeq, and MiniSeq platforms, as well as associated library preparation and reagent kits, infringe Complete Genomics' US Patent No. 9,222,132, titled "Methods and Compositions for Efficient Base Calling in Sequencing Reactions."

The patent, which lists MGI CSO Rade Drmanac as inventor, was issued in 2015 and covers two-color sequencing technology. According to MGI, it is key to the firm's DNBSeq technology.

Complete Genomics claims that Illumina's infringement is willful and is asking the court for a jury trial, a declaration that Illumina infringes the '132 patent, an injunction to prevent further infringement, and triple damages, among other things.

"When necessary, we will protect our intellectual property rights worldwide," said Wei Wei, VP and general counsel of BGI Group, the parent company of MGI, in a statement. "The current lawsuit demonstrates the serious attitude and firm confidence of MGI in protecting its intellectual property rights."

Illumina said in a statement that "BGI's claims of patent infringement are meritless, and we fully expect to succeed in the litigation."

MGI's action follows two recent patent infringement lawsuits by Illumina against MGI. Earlier this month, Illumina filed a suit against BGI Europe in Denmark, claiming that several BGI and MGI sequencing platforms infringe one of its European sequencing patents and violate a trademark it holds. In March, Illumina sued Latvia MGI Tech in a German court for alleged infringement of another European sequencing patent.

MGI said earlier this year that it plans to start selling sequencing equipment in Europe and North America. The company, which was spun off from BGI in 2016, holds more than 580 patents worldwide and has more than 900 employees, more than half of them in R&D. MGI includes Complete Genomics in the US, Shenzhen MGI Tech, and other operations in 16 countries and regions.