A Diagnostics and Imaging Week

HemoCue AB (Angelholm, Sweden) has claimed victory resolving a two-year-old patent dispute with EKF-diagnostics (Magdeburg, Germany). It reported that a Dusseldorf district court found that an EKF testing product infringes HemoCue's patent, registered in 1995.

The patent in dispute is licensed to HemoCue, a developer of point-of-care testing. It said the product is a Swedish invention and "an established standard in near-patient hemoglobin testing globally. From a single drop of capillary blood, the product determines the concentration of hemoglobin, used to diagnose acute blood loss, detect anemia and screen blood donors." The system consists of an instrument and a disposable microcuvette used with each test.

Thomas Glanzmann, CEO of HemoCue, said that the ruling provides "a decisive first-instance ruling on an issue included also in other legal proceedings." HemoCue said it will initiate preliminary enforcement of the decision so that no further sales or manufacturing of the infringing product will be allowed.

Clas Runnberg, responsible for legal processes at HemoCue, said, "For years, we [have been] making considerable efforts in research and development of new products. The court ruling . . . shows that this protection, in spite of the long wait, has a value."

HemoCue says that in 1982 it introduced the first system making accurate hemoglobin testing possible outside the hospital environment and has installed more than 200,000 systems delivering about 100 million tests annually.

Former HealthSouth (Birmingham, Alabama) CEO Richard Scrushy will get information on prospective jurors in his upcoming bribery trial, including their races, after complaining that the jury selection process was flawed because there weren't enough blacks in the pool.

Scrushy, who was acquitted last June on charges of masterminding a $2.7 billion accounting fraud at the company he founded, now faces charges that he arranged $500,000 in illegal payments to former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman as part of a bid to be named to the state's regulatory board for hospitals.

Jury selection for the trial, which will be heard in U.S. District Court in Montgomery, Alabama, begins next month. U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Coody granted Scrushy's request earlier this week, while saying that he disagreed with Scrushy's contention that blacks were underrepresented in the pool of potential jurors.

Attorneys for Scrushy, who is white, played heavily on his involvement with black churches and causes during last year's trial.

In other Scrushy-related news, he caused a stir in the Houston courtroom where the Enron fraud trial is taking place by sitting in on some of the testimony in the case last week.

He said he was in town on business and decided to pay a visit to the courtroom to see how the trial was going. "I wanted to hear what this man [former Enron financial chief Andrew Fastow] had to say," said Scrushy. "When I was on trial, one of the problems was that people didn't really get to hear what was going on, just what they heard in the media, which was somebody's opinion."

He told reporters afterward that he was "appalled" after hearing just a little of Fastow's testimony. "This is horrible that people would do this to a company," he said in a hallway outside the courtroom. "It makes me sick."