In the dispute between Illumina and MGI, the EPO has now revoked two more patents which cover a DNA-sequencing technology. While, in the latest case, an appeal is still possible, the revocation of two other patents in the same family is final.
For years, patent holder Illumina has been in dispute with Chinese biotechnology company MGI over various patents for DNA sequencing technology. Now the EPO Opposition Division has revoked EP 3 363 809, covering modified nucleotides for polynucleotide sequencing.
Two out of three
EP 809 belongs to the same patent family as EP 3 002 289, which the Boards of Appeal revoked in spring this year. Illumina requested a referral to the
Enlarged Boards of Appeal, which was rejected by the boards.
Having initially issued a preliminary opinion suggesting the patent would be upheld as granted, in the end the Opposition Division revoked the patent due to added subject matter. The reasoning is similar to a case concerning another patent of the same family, EP 3 587 433, covering “modified nucleotides”.
The EPO also revoked this patent in the first instance in February. Initially, Illumina appealed this decision, only to withdraw the appeal in June. Thus the revocation of EP 433 is final. However, Illumina can still appeal the decision regarding EP 809.