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Oxford Nanopore Responds in Court to Pacific Biosciences Allegations of Willful Infringement

This story has been updated and changed to reflect additional information from court documents and other public records.

NEW YORK – Oxford Nanopore Technologies has denied allegations by Pacific Biosciences that it has willfully infringed patents held by PacBio.

In court documents from two patent infringement suits, unsealed earlier this week, Oxford Nanopore Technologies also reiterated its request to invalidate four patents held by Pacific Biosciences and to dismiss the two lawsuits where PacBio has alleged infringement of those patents.

The documents, originally filed under seal Aug. 29 and unsealed Tuesday by the US District Court for the District of Delaware, contain Oxford Nanopore's responses to PacBio's willful infringement allegations (among others) in each case. PacBio filed the lawsuits in 2017 and alleged infringement of its US Patent Nos. 9,546,400 and 9,678,056; 9,738,929; and 9,772,323. Oxford Nanopore first asked for invalidation of the patents and dismissal of the suits in 2017. The lawsuits are just two of several legal skirmishes between the competitors in long-read sequencing technology. 

The firms have also fought their patent battle before the US International Trade Commission and in Europe

Exactly when PacBio added allegations of willful infringement — which, if proven at trial, carry treble damages — is unclear. According to court documents, PacBio asked Judge Leonard Stark to be able to amend its complaint in July.

Oxford Nanopore has unsuccessfully tried to invalidate three of the four patents through inter partes review with the US Patent Office, according to public documents. The US Patent Trial and Appeals Board denied two reviews; Oxford Nanopore withdrew its petition for review for the fourth patent at suit.

Oxford Nanopore continues to ask Judge Stark to award its costs and attorneys' fees, according to the recently unsealed documents.

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