BOTHELL, Wash. (AP) ¿ SonoSite Inc., a maker of hand-carried ultrasound devices, said Monday a patent lawsuit initiated by General Electric Co. has been resolved with the industrial conglomerate paying $21 million for royalties in exchange for a license. GE, based in Fairfield, Conn., sued SonoSite in 2008, seeking to invalidate its U.S. patent for the hand-held ultrasonic instruments. SonoSite said at the time there was no legal basis for the lawsuit. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, GE will pay the Bothell, Wash.-based SonoSite $21 million and an ongoing royalty on U.S. sales and production of hand-carried ultrasound systems weighing less than 10 pounds in exchange for a perpetual nontransferable worldwide license, SonoSite said. SonoSite will receive the royalties until the patent expires in 2016. In addition, pending legal actions between SonoSite and GE, and cross-license to the other party's patents asserted in the lawsuits are dismissed, SonoSite said. The settlement also includes a dispute resolution process to avoid help avoid litigation in the future.
In addition, the two companies agreed to form a foundation for funding clinical research, education and training of best practices for point-of-care ultrasound. Other terms of the settlement are confidential. GE did not immediately return a phone message and e-mail seeking comment. "The agreement with GE is an important milestone in the development of point-of-care ultrasound," said Kevin M. Goodwin, president and CEO of SonoSite. "It not only affirms the value of our patents, but also will enable the expansion of our research program for point-of-care ultrasound in medicine." Shares of SonoSite shed 15 cents, to $28.25 in afternoon trading. GE fell 15 cents, to $15.93.