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Judge Rejects Lab’s Patent Claim Over Research Mice

(CN) - A federal judge in San Francisco dismissed a U.S. laboratory's claim that a Japanese company is violating its government-licensed patent for creating immunodeficient mice, which are used to study cancer and regenerative medicine.

Scientists at the Central Institute for Experimental Animals (CIEA), a Japanese nonprofit, developed a severely immunodeficient lab mouse called the "NOG mouse."

The CIEA claimed that the mice at the Jackson Laboratory in Maine - the world's largest repository of research mice - violated its patented NOG mouse.

Jackson counterclaimed, accusing the CIEA of infringing on a government-owned patent for a particular mouse strain, which the United States allegedly licensed exclusively to Jackson.

U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte ruled that Jackson does not have the right to sublicense the government's patent for any other mice but its own, including the NOG strain.

"Because the NOG mouse is outside the scope of Jackson's licensed patent rights," Whyte wrote, "Jackson does not have standing to bring a patent infringement suit against the CIEA."

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