Illumina Cambridge Ltd v Latvia MGI Tech SIA & Ors [2021] EWCA Civ 1924

17 December 2021

Isabel Jamal appeared as junior counsel for the defendants (“MGI”) in part of an appeal of the order of Birss J (as he then was) declaring that four patents owned by the claimants (“Illumina”) were, as amended, valid and infringed by MGI. The patents described and claimed inventions in the field of DNA sequencing, specifically a technique known as “sequencing by synthesis”.  Miss Jamal was part of the counsel team addressing one of those patents, which related to dye compounds and their labelled conjugates (“the 415 patent”).

The issue on appeal in relation to the 415 patent was whether it was obvious on the basis that it was a collocation of non-inventive features.

In his leading speech, Arnold LJ held the Judge was right to conclude that the molecule constituted a single invention and therefore not a collocation of obvious elements given that (1) the skilled team would know from their common general knowledge that, when joined together, the “building blocks” of the molecule were capable of interacting adversely with each other in various ways, (2) the skilled team could not predict in advance whether this would occur or not, and (3) the 415 patent demonstrated that there is no such adverse interaction, and thus the claimed molecules are useful for the purpose of sequencing by synthesis.  Therefore Arnold LJ dismissed MGI’s appeal on the 415 patent.

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