Bausch & Lomb files patent suit against OSI

December 15, 2004

Rochester, NY-Bausch & Lomb has filed a suit against Ocular Sciences Inc., claiming that its Concord, CA-based competitor is infringing a patent used to make its toric contact lenses for correction of astigmatism.

Rochester, NY-Bausch & Lomb has filed a suit against Ocular Sciences Inc., claiming that its Concord, CA-based competitor is infringing a patent used to make its toric contact lenses for correction of astigmatism.

Bausch & Lomb said Ocular Sciences' OSI Biomedics toric soft contact lens and its private-label equivalent violate a patent it uses for its SofLens66 Toric lens, which hit the U.S. market in November 1998, according to Bausch & Lomb spokeswoman Margaret Graham.

The Biomedics toric lens was launched in March 2001, said Ocular Sciences' spokeswoman Sheryl Seapy, who declined further comment.

"Since OSI did not provide us with the requested information, we had no choice but to file the lawsuit to protect our patent rights," said Angela J. Panzarella, Bausch & Lomb's corporate vice president, Global Vision Care.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York in Rochester. The complaint seeks an injunction blocking OSI from U.S. manufacturing and sales of the lens until the Bausch & Lomb patent expires in 2018.

The complaint comes as Ocular Sciences juggles its impending $1.2 billion sale to Cooper Cos. Inc., which owns Bausch & Lomb competitor CooperVision Inc. Stockholders approved the sale Nov. 16. The deal is set to close sometime during CooperVision's first quarter of 2005, which began Nov. 1.

Stephen J. Fanning, Ocular Sciences' president and chief executive officer, said in a news release that the company had investigated the matter in detail and believes its lens does not infringe Bausch & Lomb's patent.

"We believe this lawsuit is without merit, and we plan to conduct a vigorous defense," he said.

In other news, Bausch & Lomb has named Robert J. Moore as vice president and general manager of its U.S. Vision Care and OTC Pharma commercial business. Moore will be responsible for the company's contact lens and lens care, vitamin, general eye care, and vision accessories businesses in the United States.