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PacBio Says It Will 'Vigorously' Defend Against Helicos' Patent Infringement Claims

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Pacific Biosciences said last week that it will "vigorously defend" against claims in a patent infringement suit Helicos recently filed against the company, and believes that the claims are "without merit."

In its suit, filed by Helicos last month (IS 8/31/2010), the company claims that PacBio infringes four patents it either licenses or owns: US Patent Nos. 7,645,596 and 7,037,687, both entitled "Method of Determining the Nucleotide Sequence of Oligonucleotides and DNA Molecules"; No. 7,169,560, entitled "Short Cycle Methods for Sequencing Polynucleotides;" and No. 7,767,400, entitled "Paired-end Reads in Sequencing by Synthesis."

Helicos seeks a permanent injunction enjoining PacBio from further infringement of the patents; unspecified monetary damages, including for loss of market share; increased and punitive damages treble the amount of actual damages for willfulness; costs and attorneys' fees; and other relief from the court.

"Helicos' patents are directed to methods used in their second-generation 'flush and scan' system, and even at that, do not represent the earliest publication of those concepts," said PacBio chairman and CEO Hugh Martin in a statement. "Our third-generation SMRT technology observes single molecules in real time, a fundamentally different approach."

Representatives from Helicos and PacBio declined to provide further comment at this time.

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