AB lays down the law on PCR

By Wai Lang Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Polymerase chain reaction

Applied Biosystems have taken out a permanent injunction against
Bio-Rad Laboratories and its affiliate, MJ Research. This
effectively forbids these companies from making and selling
infringing thermal cycler products in the US capable of performing
polymerase chain reaction methods.

The move by Applied Biosystems​ is the latest event in a long running saga involving the companies, which has threatened to overshadow the technology being fought over and its implications for future drug R&D.

Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is a technology for life science and other research, in which a segment of a nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) is copied or "amplified" so that the nucleic acid can be more readily analysed.

In real-time PCR, the amplified DNA is detected during, rather than at the end of, the PCR process, a feature that facilitates greater accuracy in important applications, including gene expression quantitation and genotyping.

The injunction also prohibits Bio-Rad and MJ Research from servicing, repairing, advertising, instructing, or otherwise promoting the use of the infringing thermal cyclers for use with PCR.

"The PCR instrument patents issued to Applera in the US reflect our continuing investment in innovation in this area,"​ said Paul Grossman, vice president, strategic planning, business development and intellectual property at Applied Biosystems.

In entering the injunction, the Court enforced an earlier jury verdict following trial that the defendants infringe claims of US Patent No's. 5,333,675; 5,656,493; and 5,475,610, and that those patent claims are valid and enforceable.

Bio-Rad said in a statement they were, "dismayed," at the decision, adding "Bio-Rad believed it and ABI had reached a settlement of the litigation and this fact has been communicated to the Court by both parties."

Bio-Rad​ also claimed that during the acquisition of MJ Research in August 2004, ABI and MJ Research were engaged in litigation related to MJ Research products.

In April 2005, based on the jury's April 2004 finding that MJ Research had wilfully infringed patents relating to PCR owned by Applera and Roche Molecular Systems (Roche), the Court increased damages awarded to Applied Biosystems and Roche to approximately $35 million (€28 million), in addition to awarding reasonable attorneys' fees.

Roche joined Applera in filing suit against MJ Research to protect Roche's intellectual property relating to PCR.

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