The UK High Court has found two patents of Advanced Cell Diagnostics (ACD) invalid for obviousness, with ACD now filing an infringement case against Molecular Instruments at the UPC. The dispute, which concerns RNA-sequencing biotechnology, is the fourth infringement case to be filed at The Hague local division.

On 23 April 2024, the UK High Court found two EP (UK) patents belonging to the US company ACD invalid in an infringement case against the US company Molecular Instruments (MI). But ACD has now filed a further infringement case against MI at the UPC. The dispute, which concerns RNA-sequencing biotechnology, is the fourth infringement case to be filed at The Hague local division of the UPC.

RNA-sequencing Tech
According to a press release from Bio-Techne, the parent company behind the ASD brand, “the lawsuit seeks damages and injunctive relief requiring Molecular Instruments to stop infringing ACD’s patents in key European markets”. Defendant Molecular Instruments designs molecular kit products “for multiplexed quantitative bioimaging in academic research, drug development, and clinical diagnostics”.
Both the UK case and the UPC case concern EP (UK) 1 910 572 B1 and EP (UK) 2 500 439 B1, which cover in situ detection of nucleic acids by hybridisation. This is a form of molecular detection. The technology at play is applied in RNA-sequencing technology, which according to the National Library of Medicine (Kukurba and Montgomery, 2015) “uses the capabilities of high-throughput sequencing methods to provide insight into the transcriptome of a cell.”
In the UK case, presiding judge Richard Meade found both patents invalid for obviousness over the prior art. However, the judgment also states that, should the judge have found EP 572 valid, he would have also found Molecular Instruments guilty of infringement.

Turning to The Netherlands
Spatial biology company Bio-Techne owns multiple patents which cover features of its ‘RNA-scope’ technology. Kim Kelderman, president and CEO of Bio-Techne, says, “Bio-Techne has made substantial investments to become the global leader in the rapidly growing spatial biology industry, including the development and application of its RNA-scope technology… we will continue to diligently monitor the spatial biology industry for violators of our intellectual property and vigorously defend our position against any potential offenders.”
So far, according to the latest UPC statistics, The Hague has received four infringement cases, three counterclaims for revocation and two applications for provisional measures.
It is currently level with the Milan local division in terms of number of filed infringement cases, while the three German local divisions in Munich, Düsseldorf and Mannheim remain in the top three positions.
Although The Hague local division has not yet handed down a decision concerning the merits, it has handed down several orders. The latest was between Dutch companies Plant-e and Arkyne Technologies concerning confidentiality with regard to financial information. The court’s two legally qualified judges are Edger Brinkman and Margot Kokke.