Federal Judge Knocks Out Broad Prenatal Screening Patent In Favor Of PerkinElmer

In The News
August 22, 2011

On August 12, Judge Dennis Saylor of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts granted summary judgment in favor of Ropes & Gray clients, PerkinElmer, Inc. and NTD Laboratories Inc., finding U.S. Patent No. 6,573,103, of Intema Ltd. entitled “Antenatal Screening For Down’s Syndrome,” invalid as both anticipated and obvious in view of the prior art. As a result, the Court determined that PerkinElmer and NTD cannot infringe the ‘103 patent as a matter of law. The patent purports broadly to cover all prenatal screening methodologies that employ data from the first and second trimesters of pregnancy to determine a risk that the fetus has Down Syndrome. The August 12 Order concludes a decade-long dispute between PerkinElmer and Intema.

An August 18 article on the decision from The American Lawyer states, “The judge turned for support to a more recent Supreme Court ruling, Microsoft Corporation v. i4i Limited Partnership, which held that information pre-dating the patent and not considered by the examiner at the Patent and Trademark Office is entitled to extra weight. In this case, the prior art was a journal article published in 1997, two years before the PTO received the patent's application.”