U.K. court orders 3M to pay $1.3M over med tech

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3M was ordered to pay $1.3 million to the British Defense Ministry, the Porton Group and Ploughshare Innovation Limited, collectively, after a Nov. 7, U.K. court decision found the company breached a contract by dropping its 2007 acquisition, BacLite.

The awarded sum is more than $38 million less than what the trio original sought. Intended for detecting MRSA in hospitals, 3M purchased BacLite for $20.4 million from Acolyte Biomedica in 2007, but later abandoned the technology citing disappointing trial results. Meanwhile, the Porton accused 3M of deliberately mismanaging the trials in order to lessen competition for a 3M-developed product, Fastman, which was more expensive than BacLite.

The U.K. court found 3M in breach of its obligation to actively market BacLite in the EU, the U.S., Canada and Australia, although the court determined there was no satisfactory evidence the breach was intentional.

In a statement released the same day, 3M touted the decision as a “derisive victory,” naming the claimant’s demands of $40 million in damages, “outlandish.”

“This judgment reaffirms what 3M believed all along—that it acted appropriately in attempting to market this product, and ultimately deciding the product was not commercially viable,” said Maureen A. Harms, 3M assistant general counsel and general counsel for the company’s Healthcare Business, in a statement. “The outcome of this trial confirms our decision to cease our support for BacLite.”

Still pending, 3M filed a lawsuit against Porton and its CEO, Harvey Boulter, and legal and public relations advisor Lanny Davis, alleging that the defendants attempted to illegally extort more than $34 million from 3M to settle the BacLite case prior to the issue of a final judgment.

“With the London matter now successfully resolved, 3M is anxious to press forward with its claims against Mr.Boulter and his affiliates,” said William A. Brewer III, counsel for 3M. “In our view, the judgment in London demonstrates that Mr. Boulter and others clearly were not entitled to the tens of millions of dollars that they sought from 3M.”