Mars, Inc., Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Argus Genetics, LLC have entered into confidential settlement agreements with BioPet Vet Lab, Inc. and Radio Systems Corporation (PetSafe), regarding U.S. Patent No. 7,729,863. The ‘863 Patent outlines a process for canine breed identification testing and was granted on June 1, 2010.
In December 2010, Mars filed patent infringement suits against BioPet and PetSafe, and against MMI Genomics, Inc. Following the issuance of a temporary restraining order by the court in the BioPet/PetSafe suit, in March 2011 the court preliminarily enjoined BioPet and PetSafe from continuing to infringe the ‘863 Patent by selling DNA breed identification products and associated services. BioPet and PetSafe have appealed the preliminary injunction; however, the preliminary injunction is currently in effect.
While the terms of the agreement are confidential, BioPet will be permitted to process dog DNA samples for a limited period of time for individuals who purchased a BioPet-branded “DNA Breed Identification” kit on or before June 15, 2011. Mars will process dog DNA samples through December 15, 2011 for individuals who purchased a PetSafe-branded “DNA Breed Identification” kit on or before June 15, 2011. Thus, consumers who purchased mixed-breed DNA tests from BioPet or PetSafe before this date will be able to receive results. Otherwise, both BioPet and PetSafe have exited the canine DNA breed identification market. Mars, Inc, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Argus Genetics, LLC will continue to enforce their patent rights in this market segment.