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Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. v. 10X Genomics Inc. (Fed. Cir. Aug. 3, 2020)

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated the district court's judgment that 10X Genomics infringed the patents of Bio-Rad Laboratories and remanded for a new trial on this issue.

A key point relating to infringement was whether or not the preamble of Bio-Rad's two patents (8,304,193 patent and 8,329,407) are limiting. 10X argued that, under the

correct claim construction, the preambles limit the claims to methods of conducting reactions inside a microfluidic system, i.e., to “on-chip” reactions only (while the reactions in its accused products are "off-chip" reactions) but the district court rejected this argument.

In siding with 10X and reversing the district court, the Federal Circuit explained that, while certain preambles (e.g., TomTom, Inc. v. Adolph, 790 F.3d 1315, 1324 (Fed. Cir. 2015)) are partially-limiting, "unlike TomTom, the preamble in this case cannot be neatly packaged into two separate portions."

The Federal Circuit agreed that "the preamble terms "reaction" and "microfluidic systems" provide antecedent basis for the use of those terms in the body of the claim" but disagreed that these limiting terms can be read separately from the remainder of the preamble.

The Federal Circuit explained that "[t]he language relied upon for antecedent basis in the preamble at issue is intertwined with the rest of the preamble. The term "conducting" in the preamble is not analogous to the non-limiting language at issue in TomTom. We also are disinclined to sanction finding a preamble "partially" limiting by splicing it as the district court did here. The fact that the terms “reaction” and "microfluidic systems" provide antecedent basis for these terms in the body of the claim is a strong indication that the preamble acts "as a necessary component of the claimed invention"... Based on the antecedent relationship, it is clear the claim drafters intended to limit the claimed methods to on-chip reactions, using both the preamble and the body of the claim to define the claimed invention... Under the correct construction, the claimed methods are limited to on-chip reactions."

Read the case here.

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