In their answer, Illumina and Solexa have denied all of Life Technologies’s and Applied Biosystems’s allegations of patent infringement, and have asserted that AB’s licensed patents are invalid. In their counterclaims, Illumina and Solexa have sued Life Technologies and Applied Biosystems for infringement of four Solexa patents by Life Technologies’s SOLiD sequencing system. These four patents (US Patent Nos. 6,831,994; 6,654,505; 7,232,656; and 7,598,035 having expiration dates falling between December 2017 and July 2019), stem from three different patent families and are applicable to various aspects of the SOLiD system, specifically sample preparation, data gathering and genome analysis. As remedy, Illumina seeks (i) a permanent injunction against further sales of the SOLiD system, (ii) the destruction of infringing SOLiD system products, and (iii) damages for Life and AB’s infringement of these four patents.

“While we strongly prefer to compete in the marketplace rather than in the courtroom, we are determined to protect our position in the market so that our customers can continue to benefit from the technological advances Illumina has brought to the field of DNA sequencing,” said Jay Flatley, President and CEO of Illumina. “We also stand ready to assert our patent rights in court whenever necessary.” Illumina and Solexa are involved in an additional patent infringement suit against Applied Biosystems in which the SOLiD system is charged with infringing other Solexa patents. That suit, currently on appeal, is also a countersuit to the one filed by Applied Biosystems against Solexa in December 2006.