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Amersham, ABI End Patent Battles; Firms Will Cross-License Products Instead

NEW YORK, Feb. 26 - Amersham and Applied Biosystems early on Tuesday said they have called a truce to their ongoing patent-infringement court battle.

Under a court-mediated settlement nudged along by a US district court on northern California, the two firms will cross-license all patents embroiled in the litigation and will jointly develop some new DNA analysis technologies.

The patent litigation, filed by Amersham in US District Court for the Northern District of California in November 1997, covers patents for energy-transfer fluorescent labeling dye technology and DNA sequencing instrumentation.

"We are pleased to have ended all litigation between the two companies," said Sir William Castell, CEO of Amersham, for whom the suit has run a tab of roughly $30 million since it began. "The agreement will give us access to other segments of the sequencing market, allowing us to build on the strong position we have already established in the very high throughput segment, and will enable both companies to bring further innovation more quickly to all of our customers."

Added Michael Hunkapiller, president of ABI: "Applied Biosystems is pleased to have reached this agreement with Amersham, which will provide us with access to a broader range of sequencing technology and will enable us to focus our resources on bringing continuing innovation to academic and commercial researchers."

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