The FTC said it was accepting comments on an application from the company wanting approval of a cross-license agreement under which Agilent would reacquire assets it sold as part of the consent agreement.
FTC’s May 2010 complaint found the merger of Agilent and Varian, two global suppliers of scientific measurement instruments, would have violated antitrust laws by reducing competition for three types of chromatography and spectrometry instruments.
Agilent divested certain ICP-MS intellectual property to Bruker Corporation that later transferred it to Analytik Jena AG.
Agilent paid $1.5bn in cash for Varian in 2010. Bruker acquired certain product lines of Varian in the same year. Analytik Jena AG bought the ICP-MS business of Bruker in 2014.
Agilent’s application petitions the FTC to approve a cross-license under which it would license certain intellectual property for the ICP-OES – inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry instruments – field of use to Analytik Jena.
Analytik Jena would license intellectual property for the ICP-MS - inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry instruments – to Agilent.
This means Agilent would reacquire a particular aspect of the intellectual property rights it divested in 2010.
Agilent has since been unable to use its proprietary Hosemans Generator design for ICP-MS and Analytik Jena does not have the right to use its proprietary Hosemans Generator design in its ICP-OES machines.
The Commission will decide whether to approve the application after the comment period expires on 1 May.