Judge: BD violated Hologic's patents

Hologic ($HOLX) scored a legal victory over Becton Dickinson ($BDX), as a U.S. district judge ruled that BD infringed upon diagnostic patents owned by Hologic's recently acquired Gen-Probe.

BD violated four patents in total, according to the court, including those for STI assays and nucleic acid testing on its BD Viper and BD Max platforms. Gen-Probe alleged six patent violations in its initial 2009 suit, but Judge Roger Benitez in the Southern District of California tossed two of them in his ruling.

Now, the case will go to a jury trial on Dec. 4 to determine whether BD's infringement was willful and to hammer out monetary damages. BD has claimed that Hologic lacked legal standing to sue in the first place, and that assertion is likely to resurface once the parties are put in front of a jury.

Hologic closed its $3.8 billion acquisition of Gen-Probe back in August, absorbing the company's molecular diagnostic offerings in a deal designed to reverse the company's sluggish sales trends, including a $12 million drop in net profit last quarter.

The patent win over BD comes just a month after Hologic found itself on the other side of a similar coin, losing an infringement suit to Smith & Nephew ($SNN) over a tissue-removal system. Hologic will have to fork over $4 million in damages and lost profits in that case.

- read Hologic's release

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