Report: U of Nebraska sues Siemens over pathology patent infringement

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The University of Nebraska and UNeMed, the technology transfer organization for the University of Nebraska Medical Center, have sued Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics for allegedly infringing patents related to clinical laboratory automation technology, according to court documents.

The suit revolves around two patents owned by UNeMed and exclusively licensed to Abbott Laboratories, though Abbott is not listed as a co-plaintiff on the complaint, reported Biotech Transfer Week (BTW).

According to the complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska, the university owns U.S. patent numbers 5,614,415 and 5,985,67, both of which are entitled "Method for automatic testing of laboratory specimens."

The inventor named on both patents is Rodney S. Markin, MD, PhD, professor of pathology and microbiology and senior associate dean for clinical affairs at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

The patents, issued in March 1997 and Nov. 1999, respectively, have been exclusively licensed by the University of Nebraska to UNeMed, which in turn has granted an exclusive sublicense to Abbott, according to the complaint.

In its compliant, UNeMed said that it has the authority to initiate legal action against Siemens pursuant to its sublicense with Abbott.

The complaint alleges that prior to 2005, Deerfield, Ill.-based medical diagnostics firm Dade Behring began selling a device and system for testing medical samples under the name StreamLab Analytical Workcell, "the manufacture, offer for sale, sale, and use of which infringes" the patents.

Siemens informed BTW that it was the company's policy not to comment on ongoing litigation.