SOURCE: General Atomics

October 12, 2006 13:36 ET

European Patent Office Decision Favors Diazyme Laboratories

SAN DIEGO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- October 12, 2006 -- The European Patent Office (EPO) issued a decision last Thursday during the hearing in the opposition proceedings to Axis-Shield's European Patent for homocysteine assay (EP 0726322 B1), which greatly limited the scope of EP 0726322 B1.

Axis-Shield, ASA, a Norwegian company, originally obtained broad claims for methods for assaying homocysteine using any homocysteine converting enzyme other than S-adenosyl homocysteine hydrolase. Diazyme Laboratories, a life sciences division of General Atomics, filed the opposition to the Axis-Shield's patent in March, 2004 challenging the validity of the patent on a number of grounds.

At the conclusion of the hearing on October 5th, the Opposition Division of EPO invalidated the originally issued broad claims and limited the scope of the patent claims. The claims now relate to a homocysteine assay method that uses one of the three listed homocysteine converting enzymes. Diazyme Laboratories' enzymatic homocysteine assay method does not use any of the three listed enzymes.

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