This excerpt taken from the AKZOY 20-F filed Jun 16, 2005.
In December 2002 summary judgment of noninfringement was obtained by certain generic drug manufacturers sued by the Company under the U.S. Hatch-Waxman Act, alleging inducement of infringement by such manufacturers of the Company's U.S. patent protecting the use of mirtazapine (Remeron®) in combination with one or more SSRIs for the treatment of depression. Three of the generic drug manufacturers sued by the Company filed antitrust claims against the Company as counterclaims in the infringement actions brought by the Company. In addition, antitrust claims were filed against the Company in the United States on behalf of nine large chain store and grocery store pharmacies, and by alleged classes of direct and indirect purchasers of Remeron®. These cases were consolidated in the Federal District Court of New Jersey. In addition to these cases, the state attorneys general of the States of Texas, Florida, and Oregon opened civil investigations to determine if the Company's conduct violated their respective laws and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), working with the State Attorneys General, opened a civil investigation to determine whether the Company violated federal law. In April 2004, the Company reached settlements with the three generic manufacturers in an aggregate amount of USD 28 million. In September 2004, the Company reached a settlement with the indirect purchaser class (class of consumers and third party payers in the United States who paid for mirtazapine during the relevant period) for total consideration of USD 36 million. This settlement also resolved the claims and investigations of the three state attorneys general that had commenced investigations as well as the claims of all other states. The FTC announced that in light of the states settlement it was closing its investigation without taking any action. The indirect purchasers and state attorneys general settlement is subject to certain conditions including, but not limited to, approval by the Federal District Court of New Jersey. In September 2004, the Company also settled with the nine large chain store and grocery store plaintiffs. The Company continues to believe that its actions in obtaining and enforcing its intellectual property rights were appropriate. However, given the costs and risks of defending these actions, the Company took the opportunity to resolve these matters. Including legal costs the Company recognized a total pretax charge of EUR 89 million for the Remeron® cases during 2004.
The action brought by an alleged class of direct purchasers remains pending in the Federal District Court in Newark, New Jersey. In September 2004, the District Court entered an order dismissing three of the five claims brought by those direct purchasers while denying the plaintiffs motion for partial summary judgment. In February 2005 the District Court entered an order denying the plaintiffs motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of establishing monopoly power and granting the Companys motion for summary judgment with respect to establishing monopoly power via the direct evidence approach. The Court indicated that it would address the Companys pending motion for summary judgment with respect to the traditional market definition approach in a future opinion. That motion, as well as the Companys motion for summary judgment addressed to plaintiffs two remaining claims, remain outstanding, as does the plaintiffs motion for class certification and its motion for partial summary judgment with respect to an aspect of one of its claims. No trial date has been set. The Company will continue to defend the remaining claims vigorously.
There are pending against Akzo Nobel N.V. and its subsidiaries a number of other claims, all of which are contested. The Company is also involved in disputes with tax authorities in several jurisdictions.Furthermore, in the context of the divestitures of businesses the relevant Akzo Nobel companies have agreed to indemnify and/or provide guarantees to the buyers (and/or their successors and assigns) regarding certain representations and warranties or developments.
While the outcome of these claims, disputes, indemnifications and guarantees cannot be predicted with certainty, the Company believes, based upon legal advice and information received, that the final outcome will not materially affect the consolidated financial position of the Company but could be material to the Companys result of operations or cashflows in any one accounting period.