Bausch & Lomb, CIBA Vision settle extended-wear lawsuits

August 15, 2004

Rochester, NY-Bausch & Lomb and CIBA Vision Corp. have settled longstanding patent infringement lawsuits related to silicone hydrogel contact lens materials used to make their extended-wear lenses.

Rochester, NY-Bausch & Lomb and CIBA Vision Corp. have settled longstanding patent infringement lawsuits related to silicone hydrogel contact lens materials used to make their extended-wear lenses.

The agreement, announced July 2, allows both companies to cross-license rights to their silicone hydrogel contact lens technologies. Bausch & Lomb will pay CIBA Vision a royalty on net U.S. sales of its PureVision brand contact lenses until 2014 and on net sales outside the United States until 2016. Specific terms were not disclosed, and the deal immediately concludes lawsuits in federal courts in Georgia, Delaware, and New York, as well as in Germany, Ireland, the European Patent Office, and Australia.

Bausch & Lomb will resume the sale and manufacturing of its PureVision lenses in the United States on April 17, 2005, when the Harvey patent expires. CIBA Vision's claim to that patent was upheld in a 2002 ruling in the Federal District Court of Delaware.

"While the process that led to this settlement was a long one, both CIBA Vision and Bausch & Lomb believe the settlement is in the best interests of eye-care professionals and consumers around the world," said Andrea Saia, president of CIBA Vision's global lens business.

"This agreement allows us to focus our efforts on expanding our strong market position and continue development of new advances in silicone hydrogel materials," added Angela J. Panzarella, Bausch & Lomb's corporate vice president of global vision care.

In other news, Bausch & Lomb is offering a new program to help needy families who have infants born with cataracts, the leading cause of infant blindness in the United States. The new SilSoft Pediatric Patient Assistance Program provides free lenses to families at or below the federal poverty level.

"We will leave it up to the discretion of the individual doctor to determine the financial and medical needs of the patient and family," said Robert J. Moore, Bausch & Lomb's vice president of marketing for the Americas region.

Also, CIBA Vision has created a new online resource for eye-care professionals in the United States and Canada. The Web site, http://www.procare.cibavision.com/, provides detailed product information on all CIBA Vision contact lenses and lens care products, including product inserts, parameter guides, and fitting tips. It also features an event calendar and other industry information. Eventually, the site will offer continuing education credits.