A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Stratagene (La Jolla, California), a maker of specialized life science research and diagnostic products, said it has settled litigation and "significantly strengthened" its patent portfolio pertaining to enzyme blends.

On May 11, Stratagene reported that it had entered into a definitive settlement agreement with Takara Bio (Tokyo) to resolve the companies' patent disputes in the field of enzyme blends that are widely used in polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology.

PCR technology allows users to amplify a small amount of DNA, making analysis much easier and is commonly used in both research and molecular diagnostics, including the detection of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, AIDS, viral hepatitis, and other infectious diseases, as well as paternity and forensic testing.

As a result of the settlement, all pending patent litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland and actual and potential patent interference proceedings in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office have been resolved.

Potential disputes in the future will be avoided through cross-licenses of the parties' respective patent rights relating to enzyme blends, the company said.

Stratagene will now own a broad U.S. patent portfolio covering its enzyme blends. The company said it will seek to establish a licensing program for competitors' products covered by its broad portfolio.

"We are very pleased with the outcome of our settlement agreement with Takara Bio, as it significantly strengthens our patent position in PCR technology," said Joseph Sorge, MD, president and CEO of Stratagene. "We believe that there are a number of competitors selling products that are covered under our patent portfolio. It is our intention to make limited licenses available and recognize resulting licensing revenue. We believe that the opportunities created by this settlement illustrate the inherent value of our intellectual property and our investment in protecting our proprietary technology."

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