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Applera, Beckman Coulter Disclose Terms of Settlement for CE, PCR Suit; Licenses Will Cost Applera $35M and Beckman $20M

NEW YORK, April 27 (GenomeWeb News) - ABI parent Applera and Beckman Coulter are trying to settle an ongoing patent dispute, and each company has agreed to pay the other royalty-bearing licenses for their respective technologies.


The settlement resolves "all outstanding legal disputes" regarding Beckman's capillary electrophoresis and PCR instrumentation technology and Applera's breach-of-contract allegations against Beckman.


Terms of the settlement call for Beckman to grant Applera licenses to its patents for replaceable gels for capillary electrophoresis instruments and DNA sequencers, and to its patent for a heated lid for thermal cyclers. As a result, ABI will pay Beckman $35 million to "release ... any and all claims of infringement relating to DNA sequencer and thermal cycler products."


Applera, meantime, will grant Beckman licenses to its patents for nucleic acid sequencing and real time PCR thermalcycling that the company will be able to use in the diagnostics market. Consequently, Beckman will pay Applera's Celera Genomic segment $20 million over 30 months for rights to use the technology in that market.


"Once executed, this agreement will provide both companies with access to important patents and technologies required for continued success in the rapidly growing field of nucleic acid sequencing and molecular diagnostic testing," Beckman President and CEO Scott Garrett said in a statement.


The settlement will enable Beckman Coulter to add DNA sequencing to the menu of molecular diagnostic tests available on its recently launched Vidiera NsD capillary electrophoresis systems and CEQ family of instruments.


"Access to real time thermalcycling provides a key technology needed for our plans to fully automate high value molecular diagnostic testing from sample preparation through final analysis," Garrett said.


The US District Court for the Central District of California has said it will stay its proceedings for 90 days pending completion of definitive agreements based on these terms.

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