Agilent Technologies Inc. has announced a favorable legal ruling from the European Patent Office regarding Agilent’s opposition to patent EP 0853679, assigned to Affymetrix.
On Oct. 21, 2003, Agilent joined Combimatrix and Clonediag in opposing the patent, titled “Expression Monitoring by Hybridization to High Density Oligonucleotide Arrays.”
Agilent opposed the breadth of the patent, particularly the patent’s broad use of the term “control probe” in connection with gene-expression microarrays. Gene-expression microarrays are part of Agilent’s portfolio of products for genetic research.
An opposition hearing was held on Sept. 12, 2006. During the hearing the patent claims were narrowed, but Agilent and Clonediag still believed them to be overbroad and vague.
After the written findings were issued on May 11, 2009, Agilent appealed. An appeal hearing was held July 5, 2012, resulting in this ruling, with all EP 0853679 claims rejected and the patent revoked in totality.
“This ruling is a very positive result for Agilent’s many European gene-expression microarray customers and the entire European gene-expression community,” said Robert Schueren, Agilent vice president, Genomics.
“The ruling allows customers to continue using established workflows and protocols, including control probes, without having to worry about potential patent infringement.”