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29 March 2022MedtechAlex Baldwin

Illumina gets $8m plus injunction from DNA sequencing suit

DNA-sequencing company Illumina has convinced a California court to bar Chinese pharma firm BGI Genomics from selling technology that infringes its genome-sequencing patents.

In an order handed down by the US District Court of the Northern District of California, Judge William Orrick ruled that BGI was prohibited from infringing four of Illumina’s patents until the latest expiration date.

As a result, BGI will not be able to sell its CoolMPS sequencers in the US until the expiration of the Illumina patent in August.

Orrick also struck one claim from the fifth patent as invalid for obviousness and a failure to satisfy the written description or enablement requirements. He said that BGI also willfully infringed the invalid claim of the patent.

However, Illumina failed to convince the judge to enhance its one-time $8 million damages award handed out by a jury that BGI willfully infringed the patents—less than the $25 million that Illumina sought.

The order said: “In sum, the jury’s damages award is supported by substantial evidence that doing R&D in China is not commercially reasonable.”

BGI also petitioned the court for a new trial due to Illumina’s continued use of “inflammatory language” insinuating that the company was “aligned with stereotypes of communism or Chinese companies and/or business practices”.

However, Orrick concluded that this was no basis for a new trial on these grounds and denied BGI’s motion for a new trial.

Case history

Illumina first sued BGI Genomics in 2019, claiming that BGI’s CoolMPS and StandardMPS systems infringed its gene sequencing patents, and followed up with a motion for a preliminary injunction.

Orrick later granted the preliminary injunction and denied BGI’s motion for a summary judgment that one of the patents was invalid but granted another.

On September 9, 2021, Orrick granted Illumina’s motion for summary judgment that its StandardMPS and CoolMPS products directly infringe five patents.

Willful infringement was also found by the jury in a trial in November 2021. At the close of evidence, both parties moved for a judgment as a matter of law on all issues.

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Big Pharma
27 May 2021   Illumina and Roche-owned Ariosa Diagnostics filed a joint stipulation asking the US Supreme Court to dismiss a case concerning the eligibility of Illumina’s DNA testing patents.
Medtech
2 September 2021   The US District Court for the Northern District of California has denied an attempt by Chinese company BGI Genomics to invalidate an Illumina DNA sequencing patent in a summary judgment, leaving the dispute over infringement of another Illumina patent to be decided at trial.

More on this story

Big Pharma
27 May 2021   Illumina and Roche-owned Ariosa Diagnostics filed a joint stipulation asking the US Supreme Court to dismiss a case concerning the eligibility of Illumina’s DNA testing patents.
Medtech
2 September 2021   The US District Court for the Northern District of California has denied an attempt by Chinese company BGI Genomics to invalidate an Illumina DNA sequencing patent in a summary judgment, leaving the dispute over infringement of another Illumina patent to be decided at trial.

More on this story

Big Pharma
27 May 2021   Illumina and Roche-owned Ariosa Diagnostics filed a joint stipulation asking the US Supreme Court to dismiss a case concerning the eligibility of Illumina’s DNA testing patents.
Medtech
2 September 2021   The US District Court for the Northern District of California has denied an attempt by Chinese company BGI Genomics to invalidate an Illumina DNA sequencing patent in a summary judgment, leaving the dispute over infringement of another Illumina patent to be decided at trial.