PerkinElmer and a long-time joint venture partner have resolved all of their legal battles, with PerkinElmer agreeing to drop a patent-infringement suit as part of a broader deal clearing the way for MDS Inc. to sell a division producing plasma mass spectrometers to a third company.
Waltham, Mass.-based PerkinElmer (NYSE:PKI) last month sued MDS (NYSE:MDZ) after the Toronto-area company announced plans in September to sell its Analytical Technologies division to Danaher Corp. (NYSE:DHR) for $650 million. PerkinElmer and MDS began their collaboration in 2001 to develop so-called “time-of-flight” mass spectrometers.
PerkinElmer, which is on pace for nearly $1.8 billion in sales of research and diagnostic instruments during 2009, said it was not consulted prior to the MDS deal with Danaher and had been seeking an injuction in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to block the transaction. Terms of the settlement, first announced Jan. 25 by MDS, were not disclosed.
As part of its legal strategy, however, PerkinElmer also filed suit last week in the U.S. District Court for Massachusetts, alleging that MDS had infringed on five of its patents issued between 1997 and 2001 for various technologies used in time-of-flight spectometry devices.
In particular, the Jan. 20 suit argued that the QSTAR mass spectometer developed through the companies’ joint venture stepped on one or more PerkinElmer patents. According to the suit, PerkinElmer first warned MDS of the alleged infringements in September 2009 and followed through by seeking to bar future QSTAR sales and securing unspecified damages.
But in a motion delivered to the court Jan. 26, attorneys for PerkinElmer asked that the suit be dismissed with prejudice, noting that MDS had not yet been served with the complaint and had “not filed an answer or motion for summary judgment.”
Representatives at PerkinElmer did not return telephone and email messages seeking comment about the settlement. It’s also unclear whether PerkinElmer intends to continue its collaboration with the Analytical Technologies unit if the sale to Washington, D.C.-based Danaher is approved by U.S. anti-trust regulators.
Time of flight spectrometry measures the time it takes for ions or other particles to travel through different objects. The measurements can be used to determine the composition of objects either directly with ion detectors or indirectly by measuring the amount of light scattered by objects.