steve-debenport /
25 January 2018Americas

Premaitha granted right to appeal infringement judgment

The English High Court has granted Premaitha Health the right to appeal a judgment on its ongoing patent infringement disagreement with Illumina.

UK-based Premaitha is a molecular diagnostics group focused on non-invasive prenatal tests. Illumina is a US-based genetic sequencing company.

In November 2017, LSIPR reported that the English High Court had ruled that the Premaitha’s Iona test, a non-invasive prenatal test that estimates the risk of a foetus being born with Down’s syndrome, infringed Illumina’s patents.

The patents in question related to non-invasive prenatal diagnosis, genetic testing on a foetus that requires only sampling of the mother’s blood, and another non-invasively collected analyte.

It was found that Iona infringed patent numbers 1,981,995 B1 and 2,385,143 B1, also known as the “Quake” patents, which are licensed to Verinata, a subsidiary of Illumina, by Stanford University.

Mr Justice Henry Carr found that the test also infringed patent number 0,994,963 B2 “insofar as it is used for sex determination”.

On Tuesday 23, Premaitha announced that the English High Court had accepted its appeal against the November judgment.

The appeal of infringement and validity was granted on a range of grounds according to Premaitha, including obviousness, lack of priority and two alternative processes of carrying out the Iona test that were considered to be non-infringing.

Premaitha said that it will pay an interim cost of approximately £1.5 million. If the appeal is successful, the costs will be paid back.

Dr Stephen Little, CEO of Premaitha, said he welcomed the court’s decision to accept the appeal and that the interim cost had been expected.

“We anticipate the appeal cycle will take at least 12 months and the costs will be significantly lower than those we have incurred to date,” he said. “We remain hopeful that the courts will in time agree with us on the patent issues at hand.”

Little said that Premaitha will continue to seek discussions with Illumina to reach a settlement as it believes it would be in best interest to both parties.

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