Menlo Park, CA 11/2/16; Washington, DC 11/3/16; Oxford, UK 11/3/16—Pacific Biosciences, provider of SMRT sequencing technology, has filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) against UK-based Oxford Nanopore, a maker of nanopore sequencing technology. The complaint asserts that Oxford Nanopore’s MinION (see New Products Showcased at AMP) and PromethION systems and associated products infringe US Patent No. 9,404,146 (Compositions and Methods for Nucleic Acid Sequencing), which is owned by Pacific Biosciences. The complaint requests the ITC issue an order barring entry, sale and advertisement of the infringing products in the US. Issued in August, the Patent covers a method for sequencing single nucleic acid molecules using linked double-stranded nucleic acid templates. In response to the suit, Oxford Nanopore CEO Dr. Gordon Sanghera stated, “The new, out-of-the-blue ITC complaint shows some very one-dimensional reasoning.” The company does not anticipate any disruption of its business, and believes the action is without merit.
Pacific Biosciences stated on its quarterly conference call that it filed an ITC complaint instead of a lawsuit as the process is faster and less expensive. Earlier this year, Oxford Nanopore reached a settlement with Illumina for its ITC complaint involving patent infringement against the company (see IBO 10/15/16).