Retailers Settle in Ocular Suit
CONCORD, Calif., April 22,2002 - Three Internet contact-lens retailers have agreed to a court order prohibiting them
from purchasing, distributing, marketing, advertising, or selling any of Ocular Sciences' products.
1-0-1Contact.com, iwearcontacts.com, and contactlenses4u.com have also agreed not
to use any Ocular trademarks, and from representing or suggesting that products sold originate from, or are
associated, affiliated, or sponsored by Ocular," and from shipping other companies' products in substitution
of Ocular products. The three must also remove all references to Ocular and its products from their Web Sites under
terms of the settlement. Ocular filed suit against the three Internet providers and the Web
site registrants, Crystal Vision and I Wear Contacts, in U.S. District Court for the northern district of California
in January. Ocular will continue its policy of marketing directly to eyecare practitioners and to actively enforce
that position, according to Steve Fanning, president/CEO.
Parents "Strike Out" When Protecting Little Leaguers' Eyes
- ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 25, 2002 — Last summer 9-year-old Kevin LaRoche
was practicing with his Brea, Calif., traveling baseball team and was struck in the eye by a
routine fly ball.
Baseball/softball is the leading cause of sports-related eye injuries
among young children in the United States. In 2000, according to the Consumer Product Safety
Commission, more than 4,700 baseball/softball-related eye injuries resulted
in trips to the emergency room - about 46 percent of them suffered by children 14 and
But a recent survey conducted by the Vision Council of America found
that while nearly 9 in 10 people (89%) say that it's important for children to regularly wear
protective eyewear when playing sports, slightly more than 1 in 3 (36%) reported that their
children actually do so.
Fortunately Kevin was wearing protective frames with shatter-resistant
polycarbonate lenses that day. As a result,
the fly ball left Kevin momentarily dazed and with a swollen and bruised
eye instead of a more serious eye injury or permanent vision loss.
"Kevin was lucky," said Chicago ophthalmologist Susan Taub, MD. You can
injure every structure in the eye with an external blow. His protective eyewear
transferred the force of the blow away from the eye itself and to the surrounding
area." The VCA survey also found that children were far more likely to regularly
wear bicycle helmets (60%) than protective sports eyewear (36%) even though adults agreed
that both the regular use of helmets (93%) and protective eyewear
(89%) were important. The reason, according to Southern California optician Katheryn Dabbs
Schramm, is that parents aren't aware of the benefits of protective sports eyewear.
"Parents say things like, 'Her regular glasses have impact-resistant lenses.
' But everyday frames won't protect the eyes during sports," she said.
"Parents need to make protective eyewear a routine part of their
sports equipment from the start.
That's the approach that Kevin's family took, says his mom, Salior LaRoche. "He's
worn them since he got involved
in organized sports, and we made sure that they fit well with all of his athletic gear.
When he first entered Little League, he was the only kid in protective eyewear. Now, kids all over
the league and on his very competitive traveling team are wearing
them all the time. "Without protective eyewear, the fly ball that struck Kevin could
have ruptured his eye. "The eye is sort of like a balloon," said Dr. Taub. "
Put enough pressure on it and what do you think it will do?" According to Dr. Taub, many eye injuries
aren't outwardly apparent, so it's essential to visit an eyecare professional any time you've
suffered a blow to the eye. "You won't know if the eye itself has been damaged until your eye doctor
looks at it," she says. Kevin's mom says he wears his sports eyewear during all of his activities
- soccer, baseball, rollerblading, mountain bike riding. "He won't even go
to practice without them," says Salior LaRoche. "If his little sister decides to get involved in
competitive sports, we'll make sure she has a pair too, even though she
doesn't need a prescription. "For more on protecting your family's vision visit
www.checkyearly.com or call (800) 424-8422 for your free brochure.
Files Suit Against Three Internet-based Contact Lens Retailers
CONCORD, Calif.-Jan. 31, 2002-Ocular Sciences, Inc., announced
today it filed an action in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of California against 1-0-IContacts.com, iwearcontacts.com, and contactlenses4u.com, all Canadian-based Internet
retailers of contact lenses, and the registrants of these web-sites,
Crystal Vision and I Wear Contacts. The lawsuit seeks damages and
injunctive relief for "bait-and-switch' practices of the defendants when
they found themselves unable to obtain the Company's product as a result
of the Company's long-standing policy of selling its contact lenses only
to eye-care professionals.
The lawsuit alleges that the defendants, based in Montreal, Canada,
operate Internet web sites that sell contact lenses but are unable to
obtain Ocular Sciences lenses through authorized channels and therefore
do not have the ability to fill orders for Ocular lenses. The web sites
nonetheless advertise the Company's lenses, and, after unknowing
customers place orders for Ocular lenses that the web sites do not have,
the web sites claim the Ocular lenses are on 'backorder" and offer to
ship lenses manufactured by other contact lens manufacturers and falsely
represent that "they are the exact same lenses." The lawsuit also
alleges that these web sites fill orders for contact lenses without
verifying the existence of a current and valid prescription.
Steve Fanning, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Ocular
Sciences, commented, 'We agree with the F. D. A. that contact lenses are
medical devices and therefore require a current, valid prescription
before they can be dispensed. This substitution of another company's
lenses for Ocular lenses and the disregard of the prescription rules
place the health of those patients who attempt to purchase Ocular's
lenses at serious risk. It is simply not true that the lenses they are
shipping are the same as Ocular's lenses. Ocular's lenses use different
polymers and the lenses have different water content and oxygen
permeability. Decisions as to what lenses to prescribe must be made by
trained eye-care practitioners, not operators of commercial web sites."
Fanning added, 'We continue to be very serious about stopping the
diversion of our lenses. As a result of our worldwide campaign to stop
diversion, web sites such as 1-0-1Contacts.com are unable to obtain
Ocular lenses. When these defendants find themselves unable to obtain our
products, they ship another company's lenses, without a new prescription
and without the benefit of an eye-care examination to make sure the customer is getting
the right lenses. This is terrible eye care, and we think the law does not permit this
type of activity. Ocular, alone among the major manufacturers of soft contact lenses,
does not sell to and has not agreed to sell to alternative channels of
distribution, such as mail-order and Internet companies and pharmacies.
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 easier
to handle and more comfortable to wear than those of leading
- CIBA Court Victory Temporarily Halts
- ATLANTA, Georgia. Jun. 30, 2002 - A court ruling last week in favor of CIBA
Vision in a patent-infringement lawsuit against Bausch & Lomb temporarily forced B&L to stop
manufacturing and selling its PureVision contact lens in the U.S. Late on June 28, however, the
injunction was stayed pending a hearing on B&L’s appeal of the ruling. B&L executives are hopeful
the appeals court will act on their appeal within the next two weeks. Additional CL
patent-infringement suits between the two companies are still pending.