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Oxford Nanopore Prevails in US Patent Dispute With Pacific Biosciences

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has upheld a previous ruling by the US International Trade Commission that Oxford Nanopore Technologies' products do not infringe on patents held by Pacific Biosciences that relate to single-molecule sequencing .

PacBio filed a complaint with the US ITC in 2016, alleging that Oxford Nanopore's MinIon and PromethIon devices sold in the US infringed on PacBio patents related to the use of double-stranded nucleic acid templates to improve sequencing accuracy.

The ITC ruled last February that Oxford Nanopore did not infringe those patents, a decision that PacBio appealed.

In a statement, Oxford Nanopore said that the decision was consistent with a decision by the European Patent Office last month to revoke a patent PacBio held in Europe, EP30245542, titled "Methods for nucleic acid sequencing," which also related to improving sequencing accuracy. Specifically, that patent involved the approach PacBio uses in its circular consensus sequencing method to convert double-stranded DNA fragments into a circle by adding hairpin linkers at the ends. 

Last spring, the companies settled a lawsuit in Europe involving that and another patent PacBio holds in Europe. Under the terms of that settlement, Oxford Nanopore will not sell its 2D sequencing products, which use a hairpin to connect double-stranded DNA, in the UK or Germany through the end of 2023. Oxford Nanopore also agreed to dismiss a countersuit it had filed against PacBio.

PacBio declined to comment on the ruling.