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Bruker Daltonics and Thermo Finnigan Settle Longstanding Ion Trap Patents Dispute

NEW YORK, Aug. 30 – Bruker Daltonics and Thermo Finnigan have reached a settlement agreement in their multi-year, international patent dispute over the companies’ ion trap mass spectrometry technologies, the companies announced Thursday.

As part of the agreement, both companies have agreed to dismiss all pending suits throughout the US and Europe and waive all damages related to the disputes. The agreement also provides a framework of licensing and arbitration for potential future patent disagreements between the companies.

According to the terms of the settlement, the companies and their distributors may continue to sell their ion trap mass spectrometry systems in Germany, the site of a recent court battle. In addition, each has cross-licensed each other’s ion trap mass spectrometry systems internationally for all patents involved except when the technology is coupled to gas chromatography.

“First and foremost, our customers will benefit from having competitive choices without concerns about patent infringement,” Bruker Daltonics CEO Frank Laukien said in a statement.

For the past several years, the two companies have been battling each other internationally in court and in patent offices over competing ion trap mass spectrometry patents, technology that rapidly measures the mass of individual ions by using focusing fields to trap and then selectively eject ions inside a machine.

Most recently, in May, the European Patent Office revoked a Thermo Finnigan patent that covered the technology. One month before that, a United States District Court ruled that Bruker had not infringed on a Thermo Finnigan patent.

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