Jackson Laboratory, a non-profit medical and scientific research institution, has filed a lawsuit against a Chinese university, Nanjing University. The suit is based on allegations that Chinese researchers are breeding and reselling strains of mice that Jackson laboratory developed.
The suit, which was filed in federal court in Bangor seeks to force Nanjing University and other related research facilities into arbitration over the allegations.
Jackson lab is famous for breeding mice used in medical research worldwide and develops mice with specific genetic features to enable researchers to study the effects of different illnesses and their treatments on successive generations of mice.
Both parties had previously signed a purchase agreement for mice under which Jackson lab started selling mice to Nanjing University as part of its research into the impact of the diseases and treatment on subsequent generations. The purchase agreement however included a clause preventing Nanjing University from selling the mice.
Jackson Lab alleges that the university has offered subsequent generations of the mice for sale on the research labs’ website.
Jackson Lab claims that the university has repeatedly offered the mice for sale on its research lab’s website even after a cease-and-desist letter was sent to one of it research institutes, Nanjing Biomedical Research Institute (NBRI). According to the Jackson Lab, it sent a cease-and-desist letter to the university on March 31, 2016, demanding that it stop selling the mice. An official with NBRI told Jackson Lab that it had stopped selling the mice, but Jackson Lab said the institute is still advertising and selling “mice that are clearly the descendants of mice purchased from Jackson for research purposes only.”
The university followed up by sending another cease-and-desist letter in June, and by July, it send a letter demanding that the university and its research facilities go to arbitration over the matter as outlined in the original purchase agreement, but the Chinese university and research institutions did not comply with the request.
Jackson Laboratory is therefore seeking an order compelling the University and the research institutions to go into arbitration as agreed. In addition, Jackson Lab seeks to recover its court costs and wants the court to issue an injunction preventing Nanjing University and the research labs from selling mice covered by the purchase agreement until the arbitration is completed.
The case is currently pending.