Ruling Backs Drug Research

Drug and biotechnology companies seeking to develop new treatments have broad latitude to use other companies' patented inventions for research without having to pay royalties, the Supreme Court ruled. The justices said an appeals court improperly narrowed a law exempting research from patent rules when its purpose is to win federal drug approval. The unanimous ruling gives German drugmaker Merck a chance to overturn a $6.37 million award to Integra LifeSciences Holdings in a dispute over Merck's cancer-drug research.

corporate crime

U.S. Seeks 215 Years for Rigases

Adelphia Communications founder John J. Rigas, right, and son Timothy, far right, each deserve 215 years in prison for fraud and conspiracy, U.S. prosecutors told the sentencing judge. John Rigas, 80, Adelphia's former chief executive, and Timothy, 49, the former finance chief, face sentencing June 20 in New York, where they were convicted last July. Rigas attorneys asked U.S. District Judge Leonard Sand for leniency.

Still No Verdict in Scrushy Trial

Jurors weighing 36 counts in the Birmingham fraud trial of HealthSouth founder Richard M. Scrushy remained without a verdict on their 13th day of deliberations. The jury, which had previously said it was deadlocked on all counts, sent no further messages to the judge after a four-day break. Deliberations were to resume today.

Mergers & Acquisitions

UPS Buyout of Overnite Approved

The Federal Trade Commission gave the go-ahead for United Parcel Service, the world's largest package delivery company, to buy Richmond-based carrier Overnite for $1.25 billion. The acquisition should help UPS compete against FedEx in heavier shipping. UPS has been trying to build an air-freight network to better compete for business customers. Overnite's shareholders still must approve the takeover.


United May Have Outside Suitors

Creditors at UAL, parent of United Airlines, for the first time have indicated that outside buyers have expressed interest in taking over the carrier as it emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In a court filing Friday, the airline's creditors committee said it did not object to giving UAL's current management an extension until Sept. 1 for exclusive rights to file a financial reorganization plan for UAL. But the committee said it did not agree with the implication that there were no other qualified parties interested in submitting alternate plans of reorganization. United said it wasn't aware of any competing plans being put forward.


Ford Cites Stalling, Fuel Lines

Ford recalled 180,000 pickup trucks, sport-utility vehicles and vans with 6-liter diesel engines because they can stall without warning. Those include the 2004 and 2005 models of F-Series Super Duty pickups, the Ford Excursion SUV and E350 and E450 vans. Ford also is recalling more than 78,000 F-Series trucks because the fuel line can separate from the main fuel bundle, causing leakage.

Coffee Makers May Leach Lead

About 100,000 Kenmore coffee makers, manufactured by Chiaphua Industries and distributed by Salton, are being recalled because they may leach lead, posing a health hazard. The Kenmore 12-Cup Percolators were sold exclusively at Sears department stores.

T-bill rates rose to the highest levels since September 2001. The discount rate on three-month bills rose to 2.975 percent, from 2.965 percent last week. Rates on six-month bills rose to 3.120 percent from 3.060 percent. The actual return to investors is 3.039 percent for three-month bills, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,924.80, and 3.214 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,842.27. Separately, the Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for changing adjustable-rate mortgages, rose to 3.30 percent, from 3.28 percent last week.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.