Pacific Biosciences of California, Inc. (NASDAQ:PACB) today announced that the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has rendered a decision in a previously announced patent interference provoked by Pacific Biosciences related to single molecule sequencing. The decision cancels all patent claims by Life Technologies Corporation involved in the interference.
“While the claims in this interference were not related to our PacBio RS sequencing system, we believe that it is important to protect and defend the full scope of our intellectual property portfolio.”
In today's ruling, the Board entered judgment against Life's U.S. Patent No. 7,329,492 (the '492 patent), holding that all of the Life claims that were involved in the interference are unpatentable to them. The '492 patent was issued to Visigen Biotechnologies prior to that company's acquisition by Life Technologies. Pacific Biosciences claimed priority based on an application filed 20 months prior to the Visigen application. The Pacific Biosciences patent application is part of an intellectual property portfolio acquired from LI-COR Biosciences in 2008. Pacific Biosciences announced in March 2009 that it was named Senior Party by the USPTO in the patent interference case based on its earlier filing date.
In reaching its decision to cancel the Life claims, the Board agreed with Pacific Biosciences' assertion that the Life Technologies patent specification does not adequately disclose the claimed invention. While the Board determined that neither party was entitled to the broadest claims presented, they denied Life's request that a subset of Pacific Biosciences' claims be found unpatentable.
"The Patent Office has, in essence, stated that these claims of the Life Technologies patent never should have been issued, and we completely agree," said Hugh Martin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Biosciences. "While the claims in this interference were not related to our PacBio RS sequencing system, we believe that it is important to protect and defend the full scope of our intellectual property portfolio."