March 01, 2006

To settle a nearly three-year long patent dispute both in the U.S. and overseas, Inverness Medical Innovations Inc. (Inverness) has agreed to acquire part of the business of Acon Laboratories Inc. (Acon) for $175 million. Inverness initially sued Acon for infringement of its U.S. Patent No. 6,485,982 (“Test Device and Method for Colored Particle Immunoassay”), obtaining a preliminary injunction against Acon in July, 2004 for Acon’s alleged infringement of claims 7 and 19 of the patent (regarding Acon’s “one-step device”). Acon’s “lateral flow immunoassay” business had revenues of $50 million in 2005, with an operating income of $17 million. This purchase by Inverness of part of defendant Acon’s business was justified, according to Ron Zwanziger, CEO of Inverness, because “by acquiring the majority of the rapid diagnostic test business of Acon, who has proven to be an efficient manufacturer of both consumer and professional diagnostic products, we are adding significant revenues at attractive margins as well as manufacturing capabilities that will benefit us companywide.”

Inverness Medical Press Release: LINK
U.S. Patent No. 6,485,982: LINK
Yahoo! News Article: LINK


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I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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