Illumina Pays To Settle Years-Long Patent Battles

After spending the last 10-plus years in court, Illumina and BGI Group have reached a $325 million settlement to resolve a number of patent and antitrust claims across the US centered around the companies’ DNA sequencing technology.

Illumina is forking over the $325 million to settle claims following two recent jury decisions in Delaware and California, as well as an antitrust case in California, according to a statement on Thursday from MGI Tech, a BGI affiliate.

As part of the deal, each party will drop any challenges to the California and Delaware jury decisions, and Illumina gets a license to the family of patents that BGI asserted in Delaware.

In 2010, Illumina filed a complaint in California against Complete Genomics, an MGI subsidiary, alleging that the company infringed on three of its DNA sequencing patents with the latter company’s “Complete Genomics Analysis Platform.” In response, Complete Genomics asserted that Illumina had “attempted to achieve monopoly power in genome sequencing technology.”

In a later Delaware case, Complete Genomics accused Illumina of infringing on its own patents with “two-channel” sequencing systems, kits to prepare DNA fragments for sequencing and kits to immobilize, amplify and sequence fragments. The company also filed an anticompetitive suit against Illumina in Delaware last year.

Back in November, a federal jury ruled that four of Illumina’s five patents in the California case were valid, awarding it $8 million, according to a Law360 report. But in May, a Delaware jury decided that Illumina owes Complete Genomics more than $333 million for infringing on two patents, court documents state.

This latest settlement should put an end to the storm of lawsuits — at least for a while. According to MGI’s statement:
“The parties also agree to a three-year period of peace with respect to claims of U.S. patent infringement and violations of any antitrust or unfair competition laws of the United States, during which time they will not sue each other or respective customers in the United States or accrue liability for existing platforms.”

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