Spring Litigation Review
In this article, IBO updates the patent litigation landscape for the analytical instrument and lab product industry.
In March, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed in part and vacated in part the judgment in favor of Enzo Biochem and Yale University in their patent infringement suit against Life Technologies (Thermo Fisher Scientific) that resulted in a $61 million award (see IBO 11/15/12, 11/30/14). The case concerns US Patent No. 5,449,767 (“Modified Polynucleotides and Methods of Preparing Same”). The appeals court reversed the district court’s claim construction, vacating the finding of infringement, and remanded the case to the district court to determine whether the patent was infringed. The court wrote, “The district court erred in construing the disputed claims of the patent-in-suit to cover both direct and indirect detection.” Enzo has petitioned the appeals court for an en banc hearing, so that the case is heard by the entire court rather than a three-judge panel.
In February, RainDance Technologies and the University of Chicago filed suit in Delaware District Court against 10X Genomics. The complaint alleges infringement by 10X’s platform and reagent delivery system of six patents owned by the University and exclusively licensed to RainDance in the field of microfluidic systems, kits and chips. 10X has yet to file an answer.
In March, Massively Parallel Instruments (MPI) filed a patent infringement suit against Waters, alleging that Waters’s StepWave technology for MS, introduced in 2010, infringes a patent held by the company. MPI licensed rights to that patent and to US Patent No. 5,206,506 (“Ion Processing: Control and Analysis”) in 2003. In 2012, Waters terminated the agreement due to the expiration of the ‘506 patent. MPI seeks enhanced damages and a permanent injunction. Waters has yet to file an answer.
Nikon, Carl Zeiss Microscopy and Leica Microsystems have each settled cases brought against them by Super Resolution Technologies (see IBO 4/30/14). In each respective case, the claims and counterclaims were dismissed with prejudice in December 2014, January and March.
Each of the six cases brought by MK Optics against optical component companies last year (see IBO 11/15/15) has been dismissed with prejudice between November 2014 and April 2015. However, MK initiated new infringement suits involving the same patent against three other firms (see table, page 6).
Also settled this year was Alltech Associates’ (W. R. Grace) 2013 case against Teledyne Isco (see IBO 4/30/13). The parties agreed to dismiss the case with prejudice in February following a settlement agreement.