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LabCorp Owes Ravgen $273 Million Over Prenatal Test Patents (1)

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Diagnostic giant American Laboratories Holding Company A fetal DNA test maker must be paid $272.5 million to copy a method for detecting Down syndrome and other genetic abnormalities, according to a Texas jury verdict that Ravgen consultant John M. Desmaris confirmed to Bloomberg Law.

After deliberations of about four hours, the jury decided that LabCorp’s method of combining chemicals to stabilize blood samples was very similar to Ravgen’s method of adding formaldehyde to preserve the DNA of the test.

“We believe Ravgen’s allegations are completely baseless, and therefore, we are disappointed with the jury’s verdict and are reviewing our options for appeal,” a LabCorp representative said in a statement to Bloomberg Law.

Ravgen sued LabCorp in October 2020, alleging that the MaterniT and informaSeq tests infringe US patent founder Dr. Ravinder S. The jury trial began on September 19, and centered on allegations that LabCorp infringed patent number 277. Ravgen demanded that $100 for each LabCorp test performed using the infringing technology, $272.5 million in damages, awarded by the jury.

During opening arguments, Edward J. Poblawski, an attorney for LabCorp, of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati PC, said the company is using glycine and another chemical to stabilize DNA in blood samples and to improve the accuracy of the test. According to Poplawski, her business partner Streck developed the test method and patented it in 1998.

“Because our approach is different, LabCorp does not infringe Ravgen’s patent,” he said.

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However, Ravgen consultant Deron Dacus argued that FDA documents filed under the section prove that LabCorp test tubes “work just like a patent,” meaning that a reasonable royalty fee must be paid to Ravgen for extensive and unauthorized use of the technology.

LabCorp decided mid-trial to drop its defense that Patent 277 was invalid, after a cross-examination of the Streck CEO revealed that the alleged prior art did not in fact precede the patent.

A LabCorp spokesperson said there are a pair of validation challenges to Ravgen’s test patents pending at the Patent Trial and Appeals Board, with decisions due to be made in November and December.

“Ravgen and Dr. Dalan have been treated kind of badly by these big diagnostic companies for a decade now,” Desmaris said. We are very excited that we can defend his case because patent rights are important in this country. Big companies need to stop willful infringement.”

Ravgen is represented by Desmarais LLP and The Dacus Firm PC. Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP, Reed Smith LLP and Wilson Sonsini represent LabCorp.

The case is Ravgen, Inc. v. Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings, WD Tex., No. 20-cv-00969.

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