Markman hearing ruling in Affymetrix v. Illumina.
Santa Clara, CA 8/17/06; San Diego, CA 8/17/06 -- A US District
Court issued a Markman Order in Affymetrix's 2004 suit against
Illumina alleging infringement of six patents (see IBO 7/31/04). The
Markman hearing decided the construction of 15 words and phrases in the
patent claims. Affymetrix asserted that the court agreed with its
"proposed constructions for most terms and adopted only two of
Illumina's proposed constructions." Affymetrix also announced
that, in a separate decision, the Court had denied Illumina's
motion to dismiss Affymetrix's claims regarding US Patent No.
5,795,716 ("Computer-aided visualization and analysis system for
sequence evaluation"). "We are pleased with the Court's
Markman decision and look forward to proceeding to trial,"
commented Barbara Caulfield, Affymetrix's executive vice president
and general counsel. Illumina announced that the Court's Markman
Order supported its interpretations of the terms. Illumina noted that
earlier this year, Affymetrix had withdrawn its allegations regarding US
Patent No. 6,607,887 ("Computer-aided visualization and analysis
system for sequence evaluation"), and that Illumina filed an
amended answer and counterclaim, alleging inequitable conduct, antitrust
violations and "unclean hands." Illumina CEO Jay Flatley
stated, "We believe this ruling supports our noninfringement and
invalidity positions and counterclaims in this case and we look forward
to obtaining favorable results to that effect." Trial is scheduled
to begin October 16.
According to Affymetrix, the court ruled that the patents are not
limited to in situ synthesis nor limited to probes chemically linked to
a single surface and are not limited to placement of probes at
predetermined locations. The patents under dispute are: US Patent No.
6,355,432 ("Products for detecting nucleic acids"); US Patent
No. 6,646,243 ("Nucleic acid reading and analysis system"); US
Patent No. 5,545,531 ("Methods for making a device for concurrently
processing multiple biological chip assays"); and US Patent No.
6,399,365 ("Bioarray chip reaction apparatus and its