A patent battle over non-invasive prenatal tests for fetal sex, Down’s syndrome and other genetic conditions with Illumnia, Inc against Premaitha Health, The Doctors Laboratory, TDL Genetics, and Ariosa Diagnostics has come to a close this week. The battle has been ongoing since March 2015 when Illumina and its wholly owned subsidiary Verinata Health filed a patent infringement suit against Premaitha over IP covering noninvasive prenatal testing, specifically referring to European Patent (UK) 0 994 963 B2 and European Patent (UK) 1 981 995 B1, both relating to the use of cell-free fetal DNA for NIPT.

These lawsuits were consolidated and heard in a combined trial in July. In total, the lawsuits alleged infringement on five different NIPT patents: European Patent (UK) 0 994 963 B2, European Patent (UK) 1 981 995 B1, European Patent (UK) 2 183 693 B1, European Patent (UK) 2 385 143 B1, and European Patent (UK) 2 514 842 B1.

The UK High Court judgment handed down in this complex dispute found that all five of the patents in dispute were, after amendment, valid and infringed by Premaitha Health plc, et al. and Ariosa Diagnostics, Inc., et al. The case centred on a series of patents filed between 1997 and 2007 which were licensed to Illumina.

Leading specialist IP law firm Powell Gilbert LLP represented Illumina, Inc. Powell Gilbert partners Tim Powell and Bethan Hopewell led proceedings on behalf of Illumina, Inc.

Powell Gilbert had filed patent infringement suits on behalf of Illumina against both Premaitha and Ariosa. With this ruling, Powell Gilbert has successfully secured the UK patent rights for the innovative technologies which enable non-invasive prenatal testing, and the firm will continue work with Illumina in coordinating multinational litigation under Illumina’s patent rights.

Tim Powell, partner at Powell Gilbert LLP, commented:

“It is rare to have the opportunity to work on inventions which can truly be described as revolutionary and have changed the direction of a whole field of medicine. It is always satisfying to see the courts recognize such innovation, and we are very pleased with today’s result for our client, Illumina, Inc.”

 Tim Powell and Bethan Hopewell led the team at Powell Gilbert LLP which successfully represented Illumina and the patent proprietors. Premaitha were represented by Allen & Overy LLP, and Ariosa and their affiliated parties were represented by Herbert Smith Freehills LLP.

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