NEW YORK – Guardant Health has filed motions to change the venue and/or dismiss an intellectual property lawsuit brought against it by Illumina earlier this year, according to court documents filed this week.
In March, Illumina sued Guardant in the US District Court for the District of Delaware for correction of inventorship, trade secret misappropriation, and breach of contract, alleging that Guardant co-CEOs Helmy Eltoukhy and AmirAli Talasaz misappropriated Illumina’s confidential information and filed patent applications for their liquid biopsy startup based on Illumina’s IP.
In its motion to transfer filed this week, Guardant argued that Illumina filed its complaint “not only many years late but also in the wrong venue,” noting that no aspect of the case is relevant to the state of Delaware and instead imploring the court to change the venue to the Northern District of California.
“This lawsuit involves two California-based companies and two California residents, patents invented in California, trade secrets allegedly stolen in California, and employment contracts signed in California for employment in California with a California-based company,” the motion states. “Because two of the Defendants do not reside in Delaware and no factual basis of the complaint took place in Delaware, venue here is improper, period, and the case must be transferred.”
In its motion to dismiss, Guardant reiterated statements it made in response to Illumina filing the lawsuit in March, noting that the action is a “brazen attempt by Illumina to put its chief rival out of business and stifle competition in the market for life-saving cancer technologies.”
Illumina’s Grail subsidiary is Guardant’s primary competitor in the liquid biopsy testing market. Guardant claimed that its longtime business relationship with Illumina changed after Illumina acquired Grail for approximately $8 billion in 2021, sidestepping an anti-competition investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission — an investigation that Guardant cooperated with.
“The timing of this lawsuit reveals Illumina’s true motives,” Guardant stated in its motion to dismiss. “Illumina’s delay in filing this action — and the fact that it never once complained about the conduct that now forms the basis of its complaint — make clear Illumina brought this retaliatory lawsuit to punish Guardant for cooperating in a federal law enforcement investigation and inhibit fair and robust competition in the market.”