Illumina fends off Life Tech in patent spat

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Life Technologies unsuccessfully sued Illumina, claiming the Genome Analyzer II violated its patents.--Courtesy of Illumina

Illumina ($ILMN) won a favorable court ruling this week as a district judge said its gene sequencing devices didn't violate three patents asserted by Life Technologies ($LIFE).

The patents in question apply to PCR diagnostics and nucleic acid amplification, and Life alleged Illumina infringed on them with its Genome Analyzer and Genome Analyzer II, according to the lawsuit.

Life wanted to bar Illumina from selling the devices, plus recoup damages and legal fees, but District Court Judge Cathy Ann Bencivengo ruled that "Life Tech cannot establish, as a matter of law, that the accused Illumina systems infringe" on the three patents, leaving Illumina with a green light to keep selling the technology.

"Since Life Technologies filed this patent infringement suit against Illumina in 2009, we have consistently believed and strongly argued that our sequencing technology does not infringe any of the patents Life Technologies asserted against us in this case," Illumina CEO Jay Flatley said in a statement. "The federal court's ruling has now vindicated our position."

Life may appeal the decision, but the judge's ruling puts Illumina is in the clear for now. 

Last week, Illumina was on the other side of a patent dispute, when a Washington court ordered the company to pay $96 million in damages to Syntrix Biosystems, ruling that Illumina's BeadChip array, used in DNA and RNA analysis, infringed on Syntrix's intellectual property. The company is working to get that decision vacated.

- here's the lawsuit
- check out the ruling
- read Illumina's announcement

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