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CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Star Scientific, Reynolds American to explore patent settlement  

* Lawsuit related to patents on tobacco-leaf curing methods * Star Scientific shares up as much as 39 pct
Jump to full article: Reuters, 2012-01-26


Star Scientific Inc, a maker of smokeless and dissolvable tobacco products, said a federal court referred its patent infringement case with a unit of Reynolds American Inc to a magistrate judge for possible settlement.

The news sent Star Scientific's shares up as much as 39 percent in afternoon trade on the Nasdaq.

The lawsuit concerns two of Star Scientific's patents on tobacco-leaf curing methods that claim to prevent the formation of cancer-causing chemicals during the process.

"We are pleased that after ten years of hard-fought litigation -- where both sides seldom agreed on issues -- the Court's decision to refer the litigation to a Magistrate Judge for settlement purposes was agreed to by the parties," Star Scientific Chairman Paul Perito said in a statement.

A Star Scientific spokeswoman told Reuters that this did not mean the companies were close to a settlement. However, both parties would explore whether there is a basis for discussion and resolution of the dispute, she said.

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