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Waters Defeat in Patent Infringement Suit Casts Shadow on Earnings

NEW YORK, March 25 - A bruising court ruling has set back Waters' year-end financial results and hurt its first-quarter outlook, the company has said.

 

The proteomics tool shop restated its earnings for the year to $.83 from $1.23 after it said it will spend $75 million in settlement costs after a court found that a business unit had infringed on a patent held by Applied Biosystems and MDS.

 

Waters also lowered fourth-quarter results to a one-cent loss from a $.39 earning. First-quarter and fiscal 2002 forecasts are now pegged at 2 percent and 7 percent growth, respectively, from 5 percent and 9 percent, respectively, before the ruling.

 

The firm has said it plans to appeal the decision.

 

As GenomeWeb reported on March 15, ABI and MDS said they won a patent infringement suit filed against the unit, Micromass UK, and will walk away with $47.5 million in damages.

The Federal District Court in Wilmington, in Delaware, has ruled that Micromass' Quattro Ultima systems infringe ABI's and MDS' US Patent No. 4,963,736.

According to a joint statement released by ABI and MDS, which together have a partnership called ABI/MDS Sciex, the patent covers technology for "triple quadrupole mass spectrometers."

 

Waters' tools that are affected by the decision accounted for 2.5 percent of the company's 2001 revenue of $859 million.

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