JG Optical's Attempt to Dismiss and Rules in Favor of Ocular Sciences.
- Calif.-January 25, 2002-Ocular Sciences, Inc. announced today that
the United States District Court for the Northern District of California has denied JG
Optical's motion to dismiss the complaint Ocular Sciences filed against the New York-based
distributor in August, 2001.
The court found Ocular had set forth facts to support its claim that JG Optical made certain
false and misleading statements sufficient to state a claim for unfair competition under
the California Business and Professions Code and that Ocular properly stated a claim for
intentional interference with prospective economic advantage.
The August, 2001, complaint alleged that JG Optical unlawfully obtained, and then distributed
to United States customers, lenses which were intended for sale in Latin America. These
lenses were packaged for Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking patients and were neither labeled
nor packaged pursuant to the requirements of the United States Food and Drug Administration.
The only English language employed on the label are the statements: "Labeling does not
comply with U. S. F. D. A. requirements. For sale only outside the U. S. A."
The lawsuit further alleged that JG Optical materially misled the public and violated Ocular's
trademark rights and that JG Optical falsely claimed that it obtained these Latin American
lenses directly from Ocular Sciences. JG Optical is not an authorized distributor of Ocular products.
Steve Fanning, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Ocular, commented on the court order,
"We are pleased with the outcome of this hearing and will continue to pursue our action
against JG Optical." He continued, "JG Optical's actions violate our
distribution policy, put Ocular's reputation at risk both with our customers and with the patients
that wear our lenses, and interfere with Ocular's long-standing distribution policy and agreements with
Fanning added, "Ocular Sciences is the only major manufacturer who does not sell to and has not agreed to
sell to alternative channels of distribution, such as mail-order and Internet companies and pharmacies.
Unlike the other major soft contact lens manufacturers, we do not market or sell to anyone other than
eye-care practitioners who examine their patients, and then fit and prescribe lenses for them, and authorized
distributors who sell to such eye-care practitioners. We believe the health of patients is best
served through regular checkups with and obtaining their contact lenses directly from eye-care practitioners.
Ocular remains committed to this distribution policy." Ocular Sciences, Inc., manufactures a broad
line of high-quality, competitively priced soft contact lenses marketed directly to eye-care
practitioners. Ocular's unique lens technology makes its lenses thinner, easier to handle, and more comfortable
to wear than those of leading competitors.
- Ocular Sciences Files
Third Lawsuit Against Unauthorized CL Distribution
- CONCORD, Calif.--Sept. 06, 2001-Ocular Sciences has filed its third lawsuit this year against what it says
are unauthorized distribution practices. Ocular filed the suit against JG Optical, a New York-based contact-lens wholesaler, in U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of California charging deceptive trade practices, false designation of origin,
and intentional interference with Ocular’s contracts with its customers.
The suit alleges that JG Optical obtained and distributed Ocular Sciences contact lenses labeled for sale only outside the U.S.
to customers here, and that JG misled consumers by implying that Ocular’s Latin American-packaged lenses were legally offered
and intended for sale in the U.S.
Vistakon Reaches Settlement in Class-Action Suit
- CAMDEN, N.J.--A state judge here has given preliminary approval to
settlement of a class-action lawsuit filed in 1996 against Johnson &
Johnson’s Vistakon unit. The suit alleged that Vistakon’s marketing of Acuvue and 1-Day Acuvue
lenses created the misleading impression among consumers that the less-expensive 1-Day Acuvue CL was different
from the Acuvue lens and should not be used on the same wear schedule, when in fact both
were medically suitable for the same frequency of use.
Under terms of the settlement, Vistakon will change its packaging and marketing materials; the company
also agreed not to make any statements suggesting that 1-Day Acuvue lenses cannot be used for more than
one day. Consumers who bought the lenses over the last six years will be eligible for partial
cash refunds and credits toward future purchases. Final approval of the settlement could come after a
hearing slated for October 25.
Summit, VISX Settle Class-Action Lawsuits
- NEW YORK, NY.—July 19, 2001-Summit Autonomous, a unit of Alcon,
and VISX have both agreed to settle two antitrust
class-action suits brought against the two companies. The two lawsuits, one by physicians and another by
consumers, were initiated in the early 1990s and alleged that Summit and VISX entered an illegal
Summit’s share of the payments is $25 million. VISX will pay a total of approximately $37.8 million.
In separate statements, the two companies deny the price-fixing allegations and felt that while there
was "no basis for the claims," both VISX and Alcon expressed a desire to close matters and
put the lawsuits behind them.
Weblens.net Accepts Court Order in Ocular Sciences Suit
- CONCORD, Calif.--June 30, 2001-Ocular Sciences has settled its lawsuit
with Internet contact-lens retailer Weblens.net, resolving a suit filed by Ocular in February in
United States District Court for the southern district of New York. Weblens.net has agreed to a court
order to not purchase, distribute, advertise, sell, alter, or tamper with Ocular products and to
not use any of Ocular’s trademarks, as well as to remove any references to Ocular or its products
from Weblens.net’s Web site.
"We at Ocular take seriously the Food and Drug Administration’s position that contact lenses are
medical devices, and our distribution policies reflect
that view," noted John Fruth, Ocular’s chairman/CEO.
Ocular Sciences Sues Another Internet CL Firm
- CONCORD, Calif.-June 20, 2001-Ocular Sciences, Inc. announced
today it filed an action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, on
June 11, 2001, against Go2Contacts.com, a Canadian-based retailer of contact lenses over the internet.
The lawsuit seeks damages and injunctive relief for "bait-and-switch"' activities of Go2Contacts.com
when it found itself unable to procure the Company's lenses because of Ocular Sciences' long-standing policy that
it will sell its contact lenses only to authorized distributors and to eye-care practitioners who prescribe and sell
lenses to their own patients. The lawsuit alleges that Go2Contacts.com violated provisions of both the
California Business and Professions Code and the California Health and Safety Code. Go2Contacts.com
advertised Biomedics® 55 contact lenses developed and manufactured by Ocular Sciences, even though they could not supply
Biomedics® 55. When Go2Contacts.com was unable to fill customers' orders for the Ocular Sciences' lenses, it shipped
Frequency® 55 contact lenses made by CooperVision, one of Ocular Sciences' competitors. Additionally, in an apparent
attempt to excuse its bait-and-switch tactics, Go2Contacts.com sent e-mails to customers claiming that
the Frequency® 55 lens from CooperVision is 'virtually the same' as the lens manufactured by Ocular
Sciences. The lawsuit sets forth claims for relief based on unfair trade practices; false and deceptive
advertising, including "bait-and-switch"; and intentional interference with contracts between
Ocular and its customers.
John Fruth, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ocular Sciences, commented, "This
substitution of another company's lens for an Ocular lens is very frustrating. It is terrible eye care.
And it is lost business to Ocular and financial gain to our competitors who sell to mail-order and
Internet companies." He continued, "We are committed to enforcing our policies: 'No
practitioner, no slit lamp, no lenses." Patients are better off because we believe that
practitioners can better insure healthy wearing, and patients' continuing to wear our lenses is good for
Fruth added, "We are serious about eliminating diversion of our products to unauthorized channels of
distribution such as mail-order and internet-based lens replacement services. Go2Contacts.com advertises
the availability of our lenses, but when it is not able to fill orders for those products, it ships to
the patient a competitor's product and says they're the same. They're not. They're not even made from the
same polymer, much less made the same way." The Company's suit against Go2Contacts.com marks Ocular
Sciences' second suit against an unauthorized retailer of its products in the last 125 days. In February,
the Company filed suit against Weblens.net, an internet-based contact lens reseller, in United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York. That suit alleged unfair trade practices, product
tampering, and trademark infringement.