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CytoLogix Corporation Files New Patent Infringement Suit Against Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. (VMSI)



10/19/2005 5:10:56 PM

WALTHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 15, 2004-- CytoLogix Prevails in Five Previous Patent Suits Against Ventana; Recent Verdict By Boston Federal Court Jury Could Result In Up To $30 Million in Damages

CytoLogix Corporation announced today that it has filed a new patent infringement lawsuit against Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: VMSI) in Federal Court in Delaware. In this latest suit, CytoLogix alleges that Ventana's new Benchmark XT(R) slide-staining system infringes CytoLogix' U.S. Patent No. 6,541,261 ('261). This lawsuit follows CytoLogix' fifth consecutive patent victory against Ventana. The most recent win was for patent infringement regarding CytoLogix' slide-staining technology. The CytoLogix '261 Patent, issued almost exactly one year ago, in April 2003, covers a method of automatically staining slides with an instrument that can independently heat microscope slides.

Ventana's Benchmark XT system was launched as a successor to the Ventana Benchmark(R) and Discovery(R) systems in 2003. A U.S. Federal Court jury in Boston concluded in December that the Ventana Benchmark and Discovery systems infringed two other CytoLogix U.S. Patents, Nos. 6,180,061 ('061) and 6,183,693 ('693). Ventana claimed that its new Benchmark XT uses a different slide heating technology that does not infringe CytoLogix' '061 and '693 patents, without referencing the already issued '261 patent.

"In this latest suit, CytoLogix alleges that Ventana once again infringes our extensive intellectual property portfolio on slide heating," said Steven A. Bogen, M.D., Ph.D., President of CytoLogix. "The minor design changes that Ventana claims distinguish the Benchmark and Benchmark XT systems do not, in our opinion, successfully avoid our patent portfolio on slide heating."

Based on recent sales data for the Ventana Benchmark and Discovery systems, CytoLogix' counsel stated in court that patent damages for CytoLogix '061 and '693 patents are estimated at $25 million to $30 million - significantly surpassing the $7 million figure, based on outdated data, cited by Ventana in a December conference call. CytoLogix' claims for damages in this matter, and claims of anti-competitive practices and violations of anti-trust law, are pending.

"As the pioneer in bringing automation to the fast-growing special stain market, CytoLogix will continue to take all necessary actions to protect our extensive investments and developments in this technology," said Bogen. "We believe that the U.S. courts will once again make it clear to Ventana that they cannot build their business by continually infringing CytoLogix' patents."

Patent litigation between CytoLogix and Ventana began in December 1999. Three patent infringement allegations brought by Ventana against CytoLogix in Arizona courts were either dropped or dismissed without damages. CytoLogix also prevailed in litigation to revoke a Ventana European patent in German Federal Patent Court. The recent Boston case, where Ventana was found to infringe CytoLogix' '061 and '693 patents, is the fifth patent lawsuit decided in CytoLogix' favor. CytoLogix also succeeded with a Re-examination Request filed against Ventana's U.S. Patent 5,355,439. The U.S. Patent Office issued a Final Rejection in 2003 of all patent claims, which Ventana is appealing.

CytoLogix' slide heating technology allows automated slide staining instruments to simultaneously process different biochemical reactions at distinct temperatures. Its Artisan(R) instrument and reagent system automates complex staining processes for pathology laboratories. Modern cellular diagnostic procedures, such as those used for cancer diagnosis, often require fine temperature control. In August 2002, CytoLogix sold the Artisan business to DakoCytomation, an in vitro diagnostic company headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Contacts

The Portico Group Katherine Waite, 978-369-9779 kwaite@theporticogroup.com


Read at BioSpace.com


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