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Illumina Loses Appeal for Injunction Against Ariosa Diagnostics, but Court Upholds $27M Judgment

NEW YORK – A federal appeals court has denied Illumina's appeal seeking a permanent injunction against Roche's Ariosa Diagnostics in a 2014 lawsuit where a jury awarded Illumina $26.7 million for patent infringement related to non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) technology. The court also denied Ariosa's cross-appeal, upholding the judgment.

Following the jury verdict in 2018, Illumina asked the US District Court for the Northern District of California for a permanent injunction to prevent Roche and Ariosa from making, selling, using, or importing the Harmony NIPT assay in the US. The court denied that motion and Illumina appealed that decision, saying the court abused its discretion. It also challenged the court's award of pre-judgment interest at the Treasury bill rate, rather than the prime rate.

Ariosa also filed a post-trial motion in an attempt to challenge the jury verdict and invalidate Illumina's patents, which the district court denied. Ariosa appealed that decision. 

After hearing oral arguments before a three-judge panel in November 2019, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit concluded the lower court had acted appropriately on all matters.

"We have considered the parties' remaining arguments and find them unpersuasive," Circuit Judge Jimmie Reyna wrote in the court's decision. "For the foregoing reasons, we conclude that substantial evidence supports the district court's denial of Ariosa's motion … non-infringement and invalidity. We also conclude that substantial evidence supports the district court's denial of Ariosa's [post-trial] motion..."

"We conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying Illumina's motion for a permanent injunction," along with denying supplemental damages, Reyna wrote. "Finally, we conclude that the district court did not abuse its discretion in awarding pre-judgment interest at the 52-week Treasury bill rate."

Last month, the same court overturned a Roche win in a separate patent infringement suit over NIPT technology. In a 2-1 decision, the court reversed a lower court's order throwing out Illumina's case, originally filed in May 2018.