Saturday, July 15, 2006

Alcon Settles Pending Patent Litigations with Advance Medical Opitcs

Under a settlement agreement, Alcon and Advanced Medical Optics Inc. (AMO) resolved all their four pending patent infringement lawsuits in Delaware and Texas covering equipments and methods for performing cataract surgeries and Alcon agreeing to pay a lump sum $ 121 million to Advance Medical Optics. The parties also agreed not to sue each other regarding the patents at issue in pending cases, and cross-licensed patents covering existing features of commercially available phacoemulsification products. Also as a part of the settlement, the parties agreed to a dispute resolution process for future claims before litigation is commenced. Earlier, on December 03, 2003 AMO filed patent infringement lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware against Alcon for infringement of U.S. Patents Nos. 5,700,240 (the ‘240 patent) relating to Occlusion Mode and 6,059,795 (the ‘795 patent) relating to a fluidics management system. AMO alleged that Alcon’s Infiniti infringed the ‘765 patent and the infinity and the Series 20000 AdvanTec and Everest Legacy phacoemusification machines infringe the ‘240 patent. Subsequently, on January 28, 2004 Alcon filed a patent infringement lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas against AMO and Allergan for infringing of U.S. patents No. 4,832,685 (the ‘685 patent) and 4,935,005 (the ‘005 patent). Alcon alleged AMO’s Prestige and Sovereign phacoemusilification systems and replacement cassettes infringe Alcon’s patents. On December 16, 2005 Judge Jordan of District Court for the District of Delaware found that AMO’s patents related to surgical removal of cataracts were valid and willfully infringed by Alcon and awarded damages ($ 94.8 million) based on lost profits and a reasonable royalty. However, Alcon subsequently moved for JMOL (Judgment as a Matter of Law) and a new trial, and AMO moved for attorneys’ fees, enhanced damages, and a permanent injunction. In denying Alcon’s motions, Judge Jordan in his Memorandum Opinion found that Alcon had waived its right to challenge the verdict on obviousness by failing to make a JMOL motion at the close of evidence, and also held that AMO’s expert on infringement of means-plus-function claims was not required to provide “particularized testimony and linking argument” to show structural equivalence under § 1126. Judge Jordan while awarding treble damages ($ 213.9 million) and attorneys’ fees found evidence of copying and that the Alcon did not conduct an appropriate investigation of AMO’s patents. He also granted AMO’s motion for permanent injunction and Alcon’s motion for a stay pending appeal. Now as a result of agreement AMO and Alcon will request the District Court for the District of Delaware that the judgment and injunction previously entered against Alcon be vacated, and corresponding appeals will be dismissed.

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