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Baxter, Bayer in Talks on Espionage Suit

August 27, 2003|From Bloomberg News

Baxter Healthcare Corp., a unit of the world's largest maker of blood disease treatments, is in settlement talks with Bayer Corp. to resolve an industrial espionage case.

Attorneys for the companies told U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco that they were close to settling Baxter's suit, which alleges that Gopal Dasari, a former Baxter scientist who joined Bayer in May, copied files on Baxter's leading products for hemophilia, cancer and kidney disease.

"We feel we can resolve this case amicably," Robert S. Niemann, an attorney for Baxter, said at a hearing.

Baxter and Bayer compete in the market for hemophilia, burn and bleeding treatments. Dasari was hired to work at Bayer's Berkeley, Calif., facility, where the firm manufactures products that compete with Baxter's.

A Bayer spokeswoman said there have been "ongoing settlement discussions, but no settlement" has been reached.

A Baxter spokeswoman didn't return a message left at her office.

Baxter won a court order requiring Dasari to turn over confidential files and barring Bayer from copying the files or reviewing any files on Dasari's computer.

Bayer says it doesn't have confidential Baxter materials and Dasari signed an employment agreement in which he agreed not to disclose Baxter's confidential information.

Baxter is a unit of Deerfield, Ill.-based Baxter International Inc. Bayer is a unit of Leverkusen, Germany-based Bayer, the developer of aspirin more than a century ago and Germany's second-biggest drug maker.

Baxter International's shares rose 31 cents to $27.57 in New York Stock Exchange trading. Bayer's U.S.-listed shares rose 8 cents, to $21.54.

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