Companies are routinely sued by organizations with a political agenda and no profits or business to protect. But rarely does one see a company suing another over a cause that it acknowledges could lead to its own commercial demise. Last week's court actions in the patent trial between Affymetrix Inc. and Oxford Gene Technology Ltd. is the latest chapter in what may be just such a story.

On Friday, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware decided that AFFX infringes Oxford Gene's U.S. Patent No