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US court confirms Roche judgement

Roche has been ordered to pay $505 million in damages Keystone

A judge in the US state of Maryland has confirmed a jury's decision to make Roche pay $505 million (SFr858 million) in damages in its patent dispute with IGEN.

The judge also confirmed the decision forbidding IGEN to use technological improvements made by Roche to the American firm’s diagnostic ECL technology.

Roche said it would now launch an appeal against the ruling.

“We are disappointed,” said Manfred Maier of Roche Diagnostics Lab Network, “Roche has invested much money, time and resources in the marketing of this technology. This means the management and shareholders of IGEN have had a financial benefit despite the difficulties Roche has had to live with any agreement.”

Analysts expect Roche to cut a deal with IGEN allowing it to resume using ECL products.

Roche says the products involved in the dispute made up less than 10 per cent of the diagnostic division’s sales but it is an increasingly important market sector.

Roche has fallen afoul of the authorities on several occasions over the past two years. Notably, it received a record fine of SFr675 million from the European Commission for being a leading player in a vitamin cartel.

In 1999, the US fined Roche SFr830 million for the same offence.

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