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Illumina vs. MGI: No PI for patent holder in DNA sequencing dispute

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Illumina, the US manufacturer of gene sequencing technology, is currently in dispute with Chinese competitor BGI, formerly Beijing Genomics Institute, and its subsidiary MGI Tech in numerous countries. Overall, five Illumina patents are in dispute. All patents protect various technologies associated with DNA sequencing.

Recent injunction proceedings in Paris concerned EP 1 530 578 and divisional patent EP 3 002 289. Both covered modified nucleotides for polynucleotide sequencing.

Illumina and MGI face off

In May 2020, MGI Tech filed a nullity suit against Illumina at the Judicial Court of Paris to clear the way to launch its own product onto the market. The Chinese company wanted to supply the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) with its sequencing kits.

In September, Illumina applied for a seizure (in French: saisie contrefaςon) to gather evidence against MGI. Subsequently, Illumina filed an infringement suit at the Judicial Court Paris in October 2020. Then, in January 2021, the San Diego-based plaintiff also sought an injunction against MGI for injunctive relief, information and damages.

However, MGI argued that Illumina’s claims were disproportionate. It also argued that the disputed technology was significant in combating Covid-19 in France. The plaintiff countered that other gene sequencing technologies on the market did not infringe its patent. Illumina also argued that the injunction sought did not concern PCR tests. Therefore, it said an argument for general interest was invalid in the present dispute.

The court dismissed Illumina’s application for a preliminary injunction against MGI (case-ID: 20/03907).

Paris goes own way

With this decision, the Judicial Court of Paris jurisprudence has departed from other European courts. Illumina has seen success in most parallel proceedings conducted in the UK, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Italy and Switzerland, among others.

The US company is asserting claim 1 of EP 578 in a limited version, which the EPO’s opposition division previously upheld. In addition to EP 578 and EP 289 (both “modified nucleotides for polynucleotide sequencing”), the Europe-wide series of proceedings also concern EP 3 587 433 (“modified nucleotides”), EP 1 828 412 (“improved method of nucleotide detection”) and EP 2 021 415 (“dye compounds and the use of their labelled conjugates”).

During summer 2020, Düsseldorf Regional Court issued injunctions against BGI and MGI based on EP 578. In November 2020, Düsseldorf Regional Court then found EP 578 infringed in the main proceedings without waiting for the decision in the parallel nullity case.

Then, in January 2021, the German Federal Patent Court stated in a preliminary opinion that EP 578 fulfilled the inventive step requirement.

UK and Spain weigh in

In Spain, the Barcelona Commercial Court issued a preliminary injunction against Latvian MGI subsidiary Latvia MGI Tech and its distributor Comercia Rafers in November 2020. The judgment pertained to EP 578 and EP 289, although an appeal against this decision is pending.

A January 2021 decision from the UK High Court followed, which found EP 578 and EP 289 – along with other patents – valid and infringed.

Illumina, MGI

Sabine Agé

Patent owners often find it difficult to prevail in France with an application for an injunction. They consider Germany in particular as being the go-to location for preliminary injunctions.

But while Paris courts allow for PIs, if validity and infringement of a disputed patent seem likely, recently French judges have been less kind to patent owners.

Most recently, the Paris Court of Appeal upheld a first-instance ruling in the dispute between Allergan and Mylan and denied Allergan’s request for a preliminary injunction. IPCom, Bayer and MSD had similar experiences.

Proven teams

As is customary in France, the three-hour hearing was held in person. However, parties involved which did not plead watched via video. Currently, at the 3rd Chamber of the Judicial Court Paris, participating lawyers are unable to plead via video.

The client relationship between Illumina and Hoyng Rokh Monegier Véron has existed for a number of years. However, this is the first time the firm has acted for the US company in a court case. Boutique firm Powell Gilbert represented Illumina in the proceedings in the UK.

Illumina, MGI

David Por

In Germany, Rospatt Osten Pross represented the patent owner in the infringement and nullity proceedings.

BGI/MGI relied on Allen & Overy in France and the UK.

For Illumina:
Hoyng Rokh Monegier Véron (Paris): Sabine Agé, Florence Jacquand; associates: Charlotte Cuny, Laurène Borey

For BGI/MGI
Allen & Overy (Paris): David Por

Judicial Court, Paris
Florence Butin (presiding judge)

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Source: https://www.juve-patent.com/news-and-stories/cases/illumina-vs-mgi-no-pi-for-patent-holder-in-dna-sequencing-dispute/

Cleantech

Tesla Granted A New Patent For Laser Beam Technology That Cleans Windshields & Solar PV Assemblies

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Sawyer Merritt shared some exciting Tesla news regarding patents and laser beams today. Along with a screenshot of the patent, he summarized that Tesla had been granted a new patent for laser beams cleaning the debris off of a car windshield. The patent is for Pulsed Laser Cleaning of Debris Accumulated on Glass Articles In Vehicles and Photovoltaic Assemblies. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Tesla will replace windshield wipers, though. It could just be about cleaning solar panels, including solar panels built into cars.

The patent gives Tesla the exclusive right for the invention. In the filing, Tesla said:

“A cleaning system for a vehicle includes a beam optics assembly that emits a laser beam to irradiate a region on a glass article of the vehicle, debris detection circuitry that detects debris accumulated over the region, and control circuitry. The control circuitry calibrates a set of parameters associated with the laser beam emitted from the beam optics assembly based on detection of the debris accumulated over the region on the glass article, controls an exposure level of the laser beam on the debris accumulated based on calibration of the set of parameters associated with the laser beam, wherein the exposure level is controlled based on pulsing the laser beam at a calibrated rate that limits penetration of the laser beam to a depth that is less than a thickness of the glass article and removes the debris accumulated over the region on the glass article using the laser beam.”

Although this would most likely be used for vehicles, the name of the patent title shows that Tesla has plans for the laser beams other than just in/on vehicles. It can be used in cleaning solar panels and tiles for building roofs. Now, before we go rushing to conclusions about Tesla and lasers, it’s also important to remember that just because they have a patent for the technology doesn’t mean they will use it. Many things get patented and never used. It should be noted, however, that the Cybertruck prototype doesn’t have any windshield wipers. Tesla could use this technology for the Cybertruck.

 

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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/09/08/tesla-granted-a-new-patent-for-laser-beam-technology-that-cleans-windshields-and-pv-assemblies/

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Fintech

BofA gets record patents as lender focuses on machine learning

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Inventors at Bank of America Corp. kept originating ideas, leading to a record-setting first half of the year, even while continuing to work from home.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted the lender 227 patents in the first six months of 2021, up 23% from a year earlier, Bank of America said in a statement Thursday. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based company set its previous patent record in the first half of last year, when it was granted 184 amid the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

Photo by Bloomberg Mercury

“We’re in a period of unprecedented change, and as any great company knows, delivering for customers and clients requires a strong focus on innovation,” Cathy Bessant, the company’s chief operations and technology officer, said in the statement. “The culture we’ve created at Bank of America is immensely creative and forward-looking.”

Bessant leads a technology team at Bank of America with a $14 billion budget. The company spends $10 billion of that on technology each year, $3 billion of which is set aside for new innovations, according to a spokesperson for the bank. For 2021, Chief Executive Officer Brian Moynihan increased the new-initiative budget to $3.4 billion.

About 40% of the patents granted to Bank of America in the first half of the year relate to artificial intelligence or machine learning. The firm also pursued new technology related to blockchain, payment technology and data mining and analytics. The bank said it applied for a total of 722 patents last year, despite 85% of employees working from home during the pandemic, and was granted a record 444.

One of Bank of America’s inventors, Manu Kurian, has filed more than 360 patents since 2014. A senior vice president in the firm’s global banking technology division, Kurian ranks among the top 300 patent holders in the world, with more than 220 granted to date.

During the pandemic, “the team was able to grow the interaction with our clients to become more digital, while maintaining the high-touch experience,” Kurian said in an interview. He develops patents related to data and optimization, connecting clients across key segments of the bank. “We always had continuous improvement, but there has been more integration.”

The bank has received or applied for a total of 4,943 patents, stemming from the work of almost 6,000 inventors in 42 U.S. states and 13 countries. Its patents are often cited by other inventors, Bank of America said, with more than 2,800 patents and applications from a range of industries, including technology, citing the lender’s patents so far this year.

— Katherine Doherty (Bloomberg Mercury)

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Source: https://bankautomationnews.com/allposts/retail/bofa-gets-record-patents-as-lender-focuses-on-machine-learning/

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Patents

Google infringed on five Sonos patents, according to preliminary ruling

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Way back in January 2020, Sonos sued Google over patent infringement. Today, the streaming speaker company scored an early victory with the U.S. International Trade Commission. A preliminary ruling penned by ITC chief administrative law judge Charles Bullock finds that Google infringed on five patents.

“Today the ALJ has found all five of Sonos’ asserted patents to be valid and that Google infringes on all five patents,” Sonos Chief Legal Officer Eddie Lazarus said in a statement to TechCrunch. “We are pleased the ITC has confirmed Google’s blatant infringement of Sonos’ patented inventions. This decision re-affirms the strength and breadth of our portfolio, marking a promising milestone in our long-term pursuit to defend our innovation against misappropriation by Big Tech monopolies.”

The finding is still very much early days for what’s likely to be an even more protracted battled battle between the two companies. Sonos’ complaint stems from Google’s own family of streaming speakers. Google entered the category, long dominated by Sonos, roughly four and a half years ago with the original Home speaker. The line now includes a number of products now listed under the Nest banner.

“Google has been blatantly and knowingly copying our patented technology,” Sonos CEO Patrick Spence said in a statement when the suit was initially filed. “Despite our repeated and extensive efforts over the last few years, Google has not shown any willingness to work with us on a mutually beneficial solution. We’re left with no choice but to litigate.”

Sonos noted similar issues with Amazon devices (Google’s chief competitor in the category) at the time, but the company opted to focus its time, money and resources on a battle with Google, instead.

Ultimately, Sonos is hoping to use the ITC to block the import of those smart speakers, along with other Google hardware, including the Chromecast and Pixels. Such a decision would be a massive hit to Google’s hardware ambitions. A final ruling isn’t expected until December 13, however, after which point a potential import ban would take 60 days to go into effect.

“We do not use Sonos’ technology, and we compete on the quality of our products and the merits of our ideas,” Google Spokesperson José Castañeda said in a statement. “We disagree with this preliminary ruling and will continue to make our case in the upcoming review process.”

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/08/13/google-infringed-on-five-sonos-patents-according-to-preliminary-ruling/

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Cleantech

Tesla Has Over 580 Patents, Reflecting Its Focus On Technology, Safety, & Innovation

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Nikkei Asia has published an interesting read on Tesla’s patent numbers, which now number in the hundreds and cover a wide variety of topics. It seems like Tesla has a new patent for something every other day. Nikkei conducted the study in collaboration with Intellectual Property Landscape, a Tokyo analytics company, and the two found […]
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Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2021/08/10/tesla-has-over-580-patents-reflecting-its-focus-technology-safety-innovation/

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