Next chapter in Dx IP dispute

The European Commission started an investigation into Illumina’s and Sequenom’s 2014 patent agreement, UK-competitor Premaitha Health said. The two US companies had agreed to pool their Noninvasive Prenatal Testing IP. 


The 2014 patents agreement in Non-invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) raised concerns of the European Commission’s competition department. According to the Manchester, UK-based company Premaitha Health, which has an ongoing litigation with Illumina regarding NIPT-related patents, the EU started an anticompetitive conduct investigation against Illumina and Sequenom, due to the possibility of an infringement of articles 101 and 102 of EU competition law. These articles prohibit restrictive agreements and abuse of a dominant position.

“We brought this conduct to their attention and will actively cooperate with these investigations to shine a light on what we believe is a pernicious strategy to buy up intellectual property in the sector, and then to use this combined patent pool and aggressive legal actions to stop developers of alternative genetic/sequencing technology, thereby suppressing competition and ultimately restricting patient choice,” Premaitha’s Chief Executive Stephen Little said in a statement. A ruling against Illumina or Sequenom could lead to fines of up to 10 percent of the companies’ revenue, Little adds.

The patent dispute between Premaitha and Illumina started in March 2015, when Illumina sued the UK-company for infringement of two of its patents. Meanwhile, other NIPT-offering companies in the UK as well as Poland and Switzerland, and their costumers, have been sued by Illumina, too.



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