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Chinese DNA Sequencing Firm BGI Faces Legal Battle with Illumina

By Wang Luyao and Han Wei / May 24, 2019 02:59 AM / Business & Tech

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Chinese genomics giant BGI Group said it is prepared in the face of rising legal disputes in Europe and may resort to counterclaims to fight patent infringement allegations.

BGI is “actively responding to recent patent disputes and will take corresponding legal actions,” BGI said in a statement to Caixin Thursday, adding that it “will not rule out the use of legal weapons such as counterclaims to protect its legal rights.”

BGI’s subsidiary BGI Europe was sued by Illumina Inc. in Denmark on alleged patent infringement last week. The complaint alleged BGI's sequencing products and related sequencing chemistry reagents infringe on Illumina's European patent.

The case followed another infringement suit filed by Illumina in Germany against another BGI subsidiary, Latvia MGI Tech, in March.

In the statement, BGI said it is confident in its own technology, which cost billions of yuan to develop and “broke the market monopoly in the upstream genome sequencing market.”

When interviewed by Caixin earlier this month on whether Illumina will file more suits against BGI outside Europe, the company’s Chief Commercial Officer Mark Van Oene said Illumina will continue pursuing patent protection, without elaborating.

Established in 1999, BGI was a client of Illumina’s sequencing equipment but has started to develop its own devices after purchasing U.S. genomics company Complete Genomics in 2012.

Related: BGI Genomics’ Profits Slip As Questions Linger About Its Services

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