Genetic Testing Companies Feuding Over Patent, Trademark


Genetic testing company 23andMe is asking a federal court to cancel competitor Ancestry.com’s “Ancestry” trademark.

23andMe and Ancestry.com are the leading competitors in the growing market for consumer genetic testing.

Consumer genetic testing services are becoming more popular as consumers get more comfortable using them. In 2017, the consumer DNA testing market reached $99 million and could reach $310 million by 2022, according to market research firm Kalorama Information.

Consumers can use DNA testing kits to find their risks for certain diseases and to trace their ancestry. The services garnered publicity lately because law enforcement officials used DNA testing services to trace information from the garbage of the alleged California serial killer known as the Golden State Killer to nab the suspect.

23andMe’s suit says Ancestry.com’s “Ancestry” mark is generic and can’t be trademarked.

It also claims AncestryDNA kits infringe 23andMe’s U.S. Patent No. 8,463,554 covering finding relatives in a database.

23andMe also says Ancestry.com’s advertisements misleadingly compare its services with 23andMe’s services.

23andMe is seeking infringement damages and disgorgement of any profits Ancestry.com earned as a result of its allegedly misleading advertisements. The company is also seeking an award of attorneys’ fees and costs.

A company spokesperson for Ancestry.com told me the company learned of the suit through media reports and intends to vigorously defend itself against the claims.

Read my article here.

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