Nucleic Acid Case Becomes More Complicated

Scott Daniels | January 4, 2010

This past September, Life Technologies Corporation and Applied Biosystems sued Illumina and Solexa in Delaware for infringing three U.S. patents by the sale of nucleic acid sequencing equipment called “Genome Analyzer” and “Genome Analyzer II.” Three weeks later Illumina and Solexa counter-claimed, alleging that Life Technologies and Applied Biosystems market “SOLiD” sequencing systems that infringe four patents belonging to Illumina and Solexa.

Life Technologies has now filed an inter partes request that one of the four patents, U.S. Patent No. 6,654,505, be reexamined. In a 330-page filing with the PTO, Life Technologies asserts that certain claims of the ‘505 patent are anticipated by each of seven prior art references. Life Technologies also contends that all six ‘505 claims are obvious over many, many combinations of prior art.

We suspect that the ‘505 patent request is merely the first of several requests involving the patents in dispute.

This case, in which some, but not all, of the patents-in-suit are being reexamined, raises the interesting question of whether the District Court should stay that portion of the litigation relating to the reexamined patent(s).

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