Sequenom goes to the US Supreme Court for review of patent decision

March 21, 2016 – SAN DIEGO.  Sequenom, Inc., a life sciences company committed to enabling healthier lives through the development of innovative products and services, announced that it filed a petition today with the Supreme Court of the United States to review decisions by lower Federal courts that the claims of Sequenom’s U.S. Patent No. 6,258,540 (“‘540 Patent”) are not patent eligible under the patent eligibility criteria established by the Supreme Court’s Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories decision. In the petition, Sequenom urges the Court to hear the case because the Court is uniquely suited to reconcile and interpret the patent eligibility criteria established in its Mayo decision.  Those overly-expansive patent eligibility criteria have not only negatively impacted Sequenom’s patent, but have put into jeopardy the patentability of existing and future diagnostic method patent claims.

The judges at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit felt “bound by the sweeping language of the test set out in Mayo” to hold the ‘540 patent invalid. The judges, and the twelve organizations that supported Sequenom at the Court of Appeals, recognized that an expansive application of the Mayo test for patent eligibility, such as in this case, will lead to untenable results—invalidating previously irreproachable inventions and precipitating what Court of Appeals Judge Lourie called “a crisis of patent law and medical innovation.” The Court of Appeals emphasized that the only clarifications that can avoid such results “must come from the Supreme Court.” 

“We continue to believe that the groundbreaking techniques embodied in the ‘540 patent are eligible for patent protection,” said Dirk van den Boom, Ph.D., President and CEO of Sequenom. “More broadly, we believe our case provides a compelling opportunity for the Supreme Court to clarify patent eligibility criteria to protect the significant investments made by Sequenom and other life science organizations that have undoubtedly advanced the standard of patient care and treatment, as well as encouraging future such investments.”

Sequenom believes that the existing lower court ruling will have little on-going business impact as the Company has been operating under the District Court’s invalidity ruling since October, 2013, as well as the pooling arrangement of NIPT intellectual property entered into with Illumina, Inc. in December, 2014. 

Separate and apart from any U.S. Supreme Court review of Sequenom’s ‘540 patent, the Company maintains valid and enforceable patents with claims equivalent to those of the ‘540 patent in Europe, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada and Australia.  Sequenom and Illumina are currently pursuing infringement actions in some of those jurisdictions.

SOURCE Sequenom, Inc.