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PacBio Sues Oxford Nanopore for Alleged Patent Infringement

This article has been updated with a statement from Oxford Nanopore Technologies.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Pacific Biosciences this week filed a lawsuit against Oxford Nanopore Technologies alleging it infringes two sequencing-related patents it holds.

In the suit, which was filed earlier this week in the US District Court for the District of Delaware, PacBio claims that Oxford Nanopore infringes US Patent No. 9,678,056, titled Control of Enzyme Translocation in Nanopore Sequencing, which was issued this past June and relates to using an enzyme to control the rate at which DNA moves through a nanopore.

It also alleges that Oxford's kits and reagents for generating 2D reads and 1D squared reads infringe US Patent No. 9,738,929, titled Nucleic Acid Sequence Analysis. That patent, which was issued last month, relates to determining a consensus sequence for a region of interest using sequence information from both complementary strands of a nucleic acid molecule.

PacBio is seeking permanent enjoinment, damages, and costs of attorneys' fees.

In a statement issued in response to the suit, Oxford Nanopore said that PacBio does not use the patents it is asserting. "We consider it a meritless suit and anti-competitive patent trolling," the company wrote.  

The two firms are already embroiled in other legal disputes. PacBio sued Oxford Nanopore in March, alleging infringement of a separate patent it holds related to nanopore sequencing. And last year, it filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission against Oxford alleging it infringed a patent it holds related to methods that improve the accuracy of single-molecule sequencing methods.

In April, Oxford Nanopore returned the favor, suing PacBio in Europe. It alleged that PacBio infringes intellectual property held by Harvard University that Oxford exclusively licenses.