Illumina Sues BGI in Europe

San Diego, CA 3/29/19—Illumina has filed suit in Germany against Latvia MGI Tech, a subsidiary of BGI. Illumina alleges infringement of EP 1 530 578 B1, covering its sequencing-by-synthesis chemistry, by BGI’s sequencers and reagents, such as the BGISeq500 and MGISeq2000. “Illumina filed this suit to defend the substantial investments we have made in our industry leading sequencing technology, as validated in our global intellectual property portfolio,” stated Charles Dadswell, senior vice president and general counsel for Illumina. “We will continue to monitor the field and file patent suits where appropriate when our patents are infringed.” In opposition proceedings, the patent’s validity was affirmed by the European Patent Office. In the US, the patent was upheld by the US Patent and Trade Office over challenges filed by BGI and its Complete Genomics subsidiary.

Last year, the USPTO dismissed BGI’s request for an inter partes review of the US patent, 7566537 B2 (“Labelled nucleotides”). This is the same patent that was the subject of Illumina’s suit against QIAGEN, resulting in an injunction of US sequencer sales (see IBO 9/15/16). The BGISeq500, launched in 2016, is capable of a read length of 50 base pairs. Launched in 2017, the MGISeq2000 generates paired-end read lengths of 100 base pairs.

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