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Bluebird Bio Lodges Counterclaim Against Spark Therapeutics

bluebird bio has launched a counterclaim against Spark Therapeutics after the latter initiated a dispute a few months ago, according to Boston Business Journal.

Earlier this year, Spark filed a lawsuit against bluebird alleging that the company misused trademarks relating to the word 'spark' in marketing/educational materials.

Specifically, the complaint accuses bluebird bio of infringing on and diluting Spark Therapeutics' trademark, relating to bluebird bio's educational and informational campaign about sickle cell disease 'Be the Spark' which was shared on social media sites and other locations.

In response, bluebird bio's counterclaim says Spark's lawsuit is a 'misguided exercise', with the Philadelphia Business Journal reporting that the counterclaim argues that the word 'spark' is free to use under the doctrine of fair use.

In addition, bluebird bio has argued that it did not wilfully infringe on Spark Therapeutics, using the word 'spark' solely to describe its 'goods and services'.

bluebird bio is developing its gene therapy LentiGlobin for sickle cell disease, which currently has an orphan drug designation as well as fast track and rare paediatric disease designations from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Spark Therapeutics was acquired by Roche for $4.3bn in February 2019, enabling the Swiss pharma giant to gain a presence in the gene therapy area.

The biotech company became the first company to receive approval for a gene therapy in the US for its rare inherited retinal disease treatment Luxturna (voretigene neparvovec).

Spark Therapeutics is also developing a gene therapy for the potential treatment of haemophilia, which has gained positive results in previous clinical studies.