GE to pay SonoSite $21M+ to resolve ultrasound patent disputes

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SonoSite and GE Healthcare have reportedly resolved all pending patent litigation regarding the firms' ultrasound technologies.

The litigation includes the lawsuit filed by GE in 2008 in the federal district court in Madison, Wis., (case no. 08-cv-298-bbc) to invalidate SonoSite's U.S. Patent No. 5,722,412 (the '412 patent) in May 2008 and a pending appeals in the Federal Circuit (case nos. 2008-1567, 2008-1568) of certain rulings in a patent infringement case filed by GE in the same Wisconsin court in 2007, according to the Bothell, Wash.-based SonoSite. The settlement also resolves a revocation action filed by GE in the Federal Patent Court in Germany relating to the '412 patent.

Under the terms of a settlement agreement, GE will make an up front payment to SonoSite of $21 million and pay an ongoing royalty on U.S. sales and production of hand-carried ultrasound systems weighing less than ten pounds in exchange for a perpetual nontransferable worldwide license to the '412 patent family.

SonoSite said it will receive these royalties until the '412 patent expires in 2016.

The terms of the settlement provide for the dismissal of all pending legal actions between SonoSite and GE as well as a cross-license to the other party's patents asserted in the lawsuits, SonoSite said. The settlement agreement also includes a dispute resolution process, designed to avoid future litigation between the parties.