Carl Zeiss licenses digital pathology patents from Olympus

Patents included in the licensing deal cover methods and equipment for creating, storing and delivering virtual microscopy slides

Jeffrey Bouley
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JENA, Germany—Carl Zeiss Microscopy GmbH of the Carl Zeiss Groupand Olympus America Inc. in Center Valley, Pa., this week signed a nonexclusiveworldwide licensing agreement allowing Carl Zeiss to access an extensiveportfolio of patents held by Olympus in the field of digital pathology andvirtual microscopy.
The patents included in the licensing deal cover methodsand equipment for creating, storing and delivering virtual microscopy slides.The technology enables individuals to view and share high-resolution virtualmicroscopy images over the Internet.
Financial terms and other details of the agreementwere withheld from the announcement by the two companies.
"The handling of digital data has become amajor driver of the development of modern microscopy," said Dr. BernhardOhnesorge, member of the board and general manager of the BioSciences Divisionof Carl Zeiss Microscopy. "Integrating the virtual slide functionality into ourresearch microscope systems will enable our customers to become more efficientand to explore new scientific approaches."
He noted that this will enable his company'scustomers to better understand the root causes of the most challenging diseasesas they pursue therapeutic, diagnostic and other breakthroughs.
"Global adoption of digital slide scanningcontinues to expand into new medical and scientific applications," said BradBurklow, executive director business development of the Scientific EquipmentGroup for Olympus Corp. of the Americas. "Olympus is the holder of manyimportant patents in this area, and we feel it is vital to allow broad accessto these technologies in order to advance the field of pathology and medicalresearch. We are confident that leveraging these technologies will enhancehealthcare for patients around the world."
Olympus America's Scientific Equipment Group offersa wealth of experience and success for the goals of Carl Zeiss in this deal,the companies say, as it has a long history of provideing innovative microscope imaging solutions forresearchers, physicians, clinicians and educators.
In the release about the deal, they note that "Olympusmicroscope systems offer unsurpassed optics, superior construction and systemversatility to meet the ever-changing needs of microscopists, paving the wayfor future advances in life science."
Olympus's precision technology leadership is expressedin the design and delivery of innovative solutions in its core business areas,which are Medical and Surgical Products, Life Science Imaging Systems,Industrial Measurement and Imaging Instruments and Cameras and Audio Products.
Olympus says that it works collaboratively withits customers and affiliates worldwide to leverage research and developmentinvestment in diverse business lines, such as gastrointestinal endoscopes,accessories and minimally invasive surgical products; advanced research,clinical and educational microscopes and research and educational digitalimaging systems; industrial research, engineering, test, inspection andmeasuring instruments; and digital cameras and voice recorders.
For its part, the Carl Zeiss Group touts itself asan international leader in the fields of optics and optoelectronics. In fiscalyear 2010-2011, the company's roughly 24,000 employees generated revenue ofabout $5.17 billion. In the markets for industrial solutions, researchsolutions, medical technology and consumer optics, Carl Zeiss has been in themarketplace for more than 160 years.
According to Carl Zeiss, its microscopy businessgroup is the world's only manufacturer of both light and electron microscopes,and the company's portfolio enables research and routine applications in thelife and materials sciences. The product range includes light and laserscanning microscopes, electron and ion microscopes and spectrometer modules,the company has a direct sales presence in 33 countries.

Jeffrey Bouley

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