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USPTO Maintains Rejection of Three Helicos Patents


By Julia Karow

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has maintained its initial rejection of three of four Helicos BioSciences patents that are subject to an inter partes reexamination.

Pacific Biosciences requested the reexamination of the patents — US Patent No. 7,037,687, No. 7,169,560, No. 7,645,596, and No. 7,767,400 — earlier this year and the USPTO granted the request this spring, rejecting all claims in a non-final office action (IS 5/10/2011).

Recently, the patent office issued a so-called action closing prosecution for each of the '560, '596, and '687 patents in which it stood by its initial decision to reject all their claims.

Helicos has 30 days from the mailing dates of each ACP — which ranged from early September to late October — to respond with comments, to which PacBio may respond within 30 days.

In a court filing for a related patent lawsuit this month, PacBio pointed out that Helicos did not propose any new or amended claims for the '687, '560, or '596 patents in response to the USPTO's initial claim rejections, and may not do so now without special reasons. Therefore, PacBio said, it believes the inter partes reexamination of those three patents "will proceed to completion quickly and efficiently."

Helicos did respond to the USPTO's initial rejection of the '400 patent, according to PacBio, amending each claim. As of Oct. 25, the USPTO had not filed another office action for the '400 patent.

Have topics you'd like to see covered in In Sequence? Contact the editor at jkarow [at] genomeweb [.] com.

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