A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Gen-Probe (San Diego) reported that it and Bayer HealthCare, a unit of the Bayer Group (Leverkusen, Germany), have agreed to end a series of disputes involving multiple patent litigations and contract arbitrations between them.

As part of the agreement, Bayer will pay Gen-Probe certain lump-sum royalties over the next 18 months, the amounts not disclosed.

Gen-Probe said it will withdraw its patent litigation against Bayer and will grant Bayer immunity from suit with respect to all existing and future Gen-Probe patents for all of Bayer's current nucleic acid diagnostic products. Additionally, future Bayer products will be immune from suit under four specified Gen-Probe patent families. Bayer also will grant Gen-Probe immunity from suit under certain Bayer patents with respect to Gen-Probe's current Tigris instrument and future instruments.

Finally, Gen-Probe and Bayer have agreed to a final decision in the companies' separate arbitration related to their collaboration for viral products. This final decision incorporates the interim awards previously awarded by the arbitrator. Bayer, however, will not be required to reimburse Gen-Probe $2 million for legal expenses, as originally ordered by the arbitrator.

Henry Nordhoff, Gen-Probe's president/CEO and chairman, said, "We are pleased to have concluded our legal disputes with Bayer, and to gain additional revenue that will enable us to invest in commercially attractive, previously unfunded development projects that will drive future growth."

Gen-Probe manufactures rapid nucleic acid tests used primarily to diagnose human diseases and screen donated human blood.

In other legalities, Health Discovery (HDC; Savannah, Georgia) reported that it has filed patent infringement lawsuits against Ciphergen Biosystems (Fremont, Califonria) and Equbits (Livermore, California) in U.S. District Court in Marshall, Texas. HDC charges that Ciphergen and Equbits have infringed three of its U.S. patents, covering various aspects of its Support Vector Machine technology.

HDC seeks injunctive relief from further infringement, compensatory damages, enhanced damages, reasonable attorneys' fees, prejudgment interest, and other associated costs.

"These actions are one step in HDC's efforts to protect its valuable intellectual property," said Stephen Barnhill, MD, chairman and CEO of HDC. "While we intend to continue biomarker discovery and our other operational initiatives, we will actively pursue any company that does not respect our IP rights."

HDC develops pattern recognition technology and a biology-oriented biomarker and pathway discovery company. Its pattern recognition tools have application potential in radiology, Internet search and spam, homeland security and financial futures.