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CIBA Sues Ocular Sciences for CL-Patent Infringement
ATLANTA, GA-- Nov 06, 2002 - CIBA Vision, the eyecare unit of Novartis,  filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Ocular Sciences in the Federal district court for the northern district of California, on behalf of its Wesley Jessen subsidiary.
CIBA's suit claims that Ocular's Biomedics Colors contact lenses infringe five patents on CIBA color technology used in WJ's Freshlook CLs. CIBA is seeking to have the court prohibit Ocular Sciences from selling the Biomedics Colors lenses.
FDA Issues Consumer Warning on Cosmetic CLs, Will Seize Illegally Dispensed Lenses
WASHINGTON, D.C.-- Oct. 22, 2002 -The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a consumer warning about the potential for serious eye injury or blindness from improper wear of "decorative contact lenses distributed without a prescription and without proper fitting by an eyecare professional."
They're scary. They're cool. And they could take your sight away. Cheap costume contact lenses -- or good lenses used badly -- can cause permanent eye damage, the FDA warns.
From cats' eyes to hypnotic spirals to 8-balls, the lenses give people a startling, otherworldly look. They're available from many reputable makers of eyecare products. Cheap versions can be purchased at shadier places such as beach shops and flea markets. Internet sites offer them to any and all.
Now the FDA vows a crackdown. Already there are reports of corneal ulcers from wearing these products too long. These ulcers can get worse very quickly -- and leave a person blind, according to Lester M. Crawford, PhD, DVM, deputy commissioner of the FDA.
"Decorative contact lenses, like contact lenses intended for correcting vision, present serious risks to eye health if they are distributed without a valid prescription and proper fitting by a qualified eyecare professional," Crawford says in a news release. "FDA will aggressively use the full range of its statutory authorities to prevent the distribution of these potentially dangerous products directly to consumers."
The FDA warns consumers to stop wearing contact lenses that have not been fitted by a professional. Even professionally fitted lenses pose a risk if not properly sterilized, if worn too long, or if shared with other people.
Risks linked to decorative contact lenses include:
  • Infection of the eye (conjunctivitis)
  • Swelling of the eye (corneal edema)
  • Allergic reactions
  • Cuts or scrapes on the eye (corneal abrasion)
  • Reduced ability to see, which could increase risk of accidents
The FDA currently approves colored prescription contact lenses. Approval is given only when the product is sterile. However, it's not entirely clear whether the FDA has the authority to prohibit lenses that are not sold as medical devices.
The FDA announcement says that the agency "will seize decorative lenses currently on the market in violation of federal law." The FDA also has issued an import alert telling U.S. Customs agents "to detain all decorative contact lenses presented at U.S. ports of entry."
People who think they may have been injured by decorative contact lenses should contact their local FDA office's consumer complaint coordinator.
Directed from © 2002 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved
CIBA Vision, CooperVision Settle Contact-Lens Patent Lawsuit
ATLANTA-- Oct. 20, 2002 - CIBA Vision and CooperVision reached a settlement last week in a patent-infringement lawsuit involving two of CIBA subsidiary Wesley Jessen's color-contact-lens technology patents. CIBA has agreed to license these and other color-CL patents to CooperVision in return for a royalty and a cross-license of some of Cooper 's intellectual property rights. The agreement will allow CooperVision to continue selling its existing cosmetic-lens products throughout the world.
CooperVision Disposable CLs Cleared for Marketing in Japan
LAKE FOREST, CA. -- Oct. 01, 2002 -The Cooper Companies, CooperVision contact-lens operation, has been notified by its marketing partner in Japan, Rohto Pharmaceutical, that the Japanese Ministry of Health and Welfare has cleared Rohto to market CooperVision's disposable spherical, aspheric, and toric CLs made from the "methafilcon A"  polymer there. Rohto will market the lenses in Japan under the Rohto IQ brand name. CooperVision will ship CLs to Rohto by January 31; Rohto will begin selling the products lenses shortly after that.
CIBA Vision Files Suit Against Georgia CL Sellers
ATLANTA, GA. -- Sep. 13, 2002 - CIBA Vision of Atlanta has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia here against two Georgia-based companies for "the widespread and illegal distribution and sale of contact lenses." The lawsuit, filed against C&C Trading Company and MAS Wholesale & Retail, alleges that both companies sold and distributed color CLs without prescriptions, without instructions for use, and without legally required medical advisories.

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