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US Appeals Court Upholds $52.6M Judgment Against Micromass

NEW YORK, March 12 - The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit yesterday upheld a $52.6 million patent infringement award against proteomics tool-maker Micromass UK, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Waters.


Waters is unlikely to appeal the ruling to the US Supreme Court, according to a company spokesman, and has already set aside the money to pay the judgment. "It's just a matter of a transfer between bank accounts," said the spokesman, Brian Murphy. "This has no impact on our business going forward."


Michael Hunkapiller, president of Applied Biosystems, said in a statement that he was "pleased" with the ruling, and John Rogers, president and CEO of MDS said the company was "pleased that the technologies we develop are well protected."


In March 2002, a jury awarded Applera and MDS of Canada $47.5 million in damages, finding that a Micromass business unit had infringed on intellectual property (US Patent No. 4,963,736, "Mass spectrometer and method and improved ion transmission") held by Applied Biosystems and MDS.


Wilmington, Del., Federal District Court Judge Roderick McKelvie then tacked on an additional award of $5.1 million in pre-judgment interest and issued a permanent injunction prohibiting the sale or importation into the United States of Micromass Quattro Ultima triple-quadrupole instrument systems. Micromass appealed.


Micromass has since taken the Quattro Ultima off the USmarket, said Murphy, and is "set to introduce replacement products this year and next. The company plans to debut a new triple quadrupole mass spectrometer at ASMS in June to replace the Quattro Ultima, and is still developing a new non-infringing MALDI source for its Q-TOF, according to Murphy.


For in-depth coverage following this suit, and related issues, see ProteoMonitor (subscription only).

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