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Jury Finds Against Affymetrix in Patent Case

November 11, 2000|Reuters

A federal jury found that biotechnology firm Affymetrix Inc. infringed an Oxford Gene Technology Ltd. patent for technology that quickly determines the activity of genes. A second trial will now be scheduled on Santa Clara, Calif.-based Affymetrix's claim that the patent is invalid, but no date has been set yet by Judge Joseph Farnan of the U.S. District Court in Delaware. If Affymetrix, which leads the market for gene chip arrays used to determine gene activity, loses, there will be a third trial on Oxford's claim for up to $40 million in damages. The jury found that there was no willful, or knowing, infringement by Affymetrix, ending for now Oxford's request that if any damages are awarded they be tripled. Affymetrix shares dropped $7.06 to close at $78.63 on Nasdaq. Last week, Affymetrix stock rose about 40% after a British appeals court ruled that as of June 1, 1999, Affymetrix had the right to use the technology through its acquisition of a Beckman Coulter Inc. unit, which had a license for the privately held Oxford patent.

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