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GE Healthcare, Beckman Coulter Settle Nucleic Acid Sample Prep Lawsuit

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GE Healthcare and Beckman Coulter, now part of Danaher, have reached a settlement in an intellectual property lawsuit related to technology for isolating and purifying nucleic acids, and the suit has been dismissed, according to recently filed court documents.

The legal spat dates back to 2009, when GE Healthcare UK sued a division of the company, Beckman Coulter Genomics, in the US District Court for the District of Delaware.

In its suit, GE Healthcare UK alleged that Beckman Coulter was infringing US Patent No. 5,523,231, issued in 1996 and titled "Method to isolate macromolecules using magnetically attractable beads which do not specifically bind the macromolecules;" and US Patent No. 5,681,946, issued in 1997 and titled "Precipitating polymers."

Both patents describe methods for using "suspended magnetically attractable beads" for isolating nucleic acids. They were originally assigned to Amersham, which GE acquired in 2004.

GE Healthcare had charged that kits and instruments sold by Beckman Coulter Genomics based on the Agencourt Solid Phase Reversible Immobilization, or SPRI, technology contained "instructions to use the products in a manner that infringes one or more claims of the '231 and/or '946 patents."

Beckman Coulter filed a counterclaim in February 2010 seeking judgment that it had not infringed the patents and that the patents be invalidated.

According to documents filed earlier this month with the US District Court for the District of Delaware, both parties agreed to dismiss all claims and counterclaims due to the fact that they had reached a settlement, the terms of which were not disclosed.

Danaher's $6.8 billion acquisition of Beckman Coulter closed in June.

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