The Federal Trade Commission is currently accepting public comments on an application from Agilent Technologies, Inc., which seeks Commission approval of a cross-license agreement under which Agilent would reacquire assets it divested as part of a 2010 consent agreement.
The FTC’s May 2010 complaint charged that without a remedy, the merger of Agilent and Varian, two leading global suppliers of high-performance scientific measurement instruments, would have violated U.S. antitrust laws by reducing competition for three types of chromatography and spectrometry instruments. As part of the 2010 FTC final order, Agilent divested certain ICP-MS intellectual property to Bruker Corporation, which later transferred it to Analytik Jena AG. The FTC’s June 2010 final order regarding the merger requires Agilent to obtain Commission approval if it seeks to reacquire divested assets.
Agilent’s current application petitions the FTC to approve a cross-license under which Agilent would license certain intellectual property for the ICP-OES – or inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry instruments – field of use to Analytik Jena AG, and Analytik Jena AG would in turn license intellectual property for the ICP-MS, or inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry instruments – field of use to Agilent. This would result in Agilent reacquiring a particular aspect of the intellectual property rights it divested in 2010.
The Commission will decide whether to approve the application after a 30-day public comment period, which expires on May 1, 2018. Comments can be filed electronically or sent to: FTC Office of the Secretary, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington. (FTC File No. 091 0135; the staff contact is Eric Rohlck, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2681)
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