MicroProbe Corp. announced Wednesday that it has initiated acountersuit against GenProbe regarding patent infringementissues surrounding GenProbe's U.S. patent on DNA probetechnology.

GenProbe, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chugai PharmaceuticalCo. Ltd., sued MicroProbe on May 17, charging the Bothell,Wash., company with infringing its patent, No. 4,851,330, whichrelates to the detection, identification and quantification ofnon-viral organisms through the targeting of ribosomal RNAsequences.

Under the countersuit, MicroProbe holds that the "Kohne 330"patent is invalid and unenforceable, and that none ofMicroProbe's activities and products infringe upon the patent,according to John Bishop, MicroProbe's chairman and chiefexecutive officer.

In addition, MicroProbe has requested that the litigation betransferred from the U.S. District Court for the Southern Districtof California in San Diego -- GenProbe's home base -- to theDistrict Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle.-- Jennifer Van Brunt

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