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Suit Claims Illumina's Sequencer Infringes DNA Amplification Patent

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – A suit filed in the US District Court for the District of Delaware today claims that Illumina's Genome Analyzer and related products and services infringe a patent originally issued to Genelabs and now held by a firm called LadaTech.

According to court documents, LadaTech has accused Illumina of infringing US Patent 6,107,023, "DNA Amplification and Subtraction Techniques," which was issued in 2000.

The patent, which includes among its claims a "method of amplifying a mixture of DNA fragments by repeated linker/primer replication," was originally assigned to Genelabs, which GlaxoSmithKline acquired in January for $57 million.

LadaTech claims in the suit that it now owns all rights to the patent, which was the subject of a re-examination request filed by a third party on behalf of Illumina in January 2008.

According to the complaint, the US Patent and Trademark Office today issued a notice of intent to issue a reexamination certificate, which confirms the patentability of the claims of the '023 patent and gives LadaTech the "full legal right to sue, enforce, and recover damages for all infringements."

The company alleges that Illumina is infringing the patent by "making, using, offering for sale, and/or selling products and associated instrumentation for use in Illumina's Genome Analyzer System, including Illumina's Solexa Gene Sequencing System and Illumina's Genomic DNA Sequencing Kits and related products and services."

LadaTech requested the court to judge that Illumina has willfully infringed the patent and to grant a permanent injunction to prevent further infringement. It is seeking damages "in an amount sufficient to compensate for" the infringement, "but not less than a reasonable royalty," as well as attorneys' fees and other costs.

Genelabs previously granted a non-exclusive license for the technology described in the '023 patent to Affymetrix.

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