Rembrandt wins $41M verdict in contact lens patent case

By Marilyn Tennissen | Feb 14, 2008

MARSHALL � Jurors awarded more than $41 million to Rembrandt Vision Technologies in a patent infringement lawsuit against CIBA Vision Corp. over extended-wear contact lenses.

The verdict was delivered Wednesday, Feb. 6, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

Pennsylvania-based Rembrandt filed suit Oct. 21, 2005, against Georgia-based contact lens maker CIBA. Rembrandt alleged that CIBA infringed its rights to U.S. U.S. Patent No. 5,712,327 issued Jan. 27, 1998, for a "Soft Gas Permeable Contact Lens Having Improved Clinical Performance."

Rembrandt asserted that it held the rights to the patent under an agreement with the research team of Dr. Sing-Hsiung "Mike" Change and Mei-Zyh "May" Chang. The patent pertains to a contact lens surface treatment that allows users to wear their contact lenses for extended periods.

After four days of testimony before Magistrate Charles Everingham, jurors found that CIBA infringed Rembrandt's '327 patent through its Focus Night and Day and O2Optix soft contact lenses. The verdict of $41,083,853 represents a 6 to 7 percent royalty on past sales of Focus Night and Day and O2Optix.

However, jurors did not find clear evidence that CIBA's infringement was willful, which could have resulted in even higher damages awarded.

CIBA claimed that the '327 patent was invalid for failure to satisfy one or more conditions of patentability. The defendant was represented by Michael Jones of Potter Minton in Tyler and attorneys from Banner & Witcoff Ltd. in Chicago.

Rembrandt was represented by Fish & Richardson attorneys Thomas M. Melsheimer (lead trial counsel) from the firm's Dallas office; Frank Porcelli from the Boston office; and Timothy Devlin from the Wilmington, Del., office. Rembrandt also was represented by Tyler, Texas, attorney Robert M. Parker; Otis Carroll of Tyler's Ireland, Carroll & Kelley, P.C.; S. Calvin Capshaw of the Longview, Texas, office of Brown McCarroll, L.L.P.; and Franklin Jones Jr. of Marshall's Jones & Jones Inc., P.C.

Case No. 2:05-cv-00491-TJW-CE.

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