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Litigation and Lasers: Eyecare Industry Heavyweights Alcon, J&J Agree to $199 Million Settlement

The agreement ends a years-long intellectual property dispute over laser technology used in eye surgery devices.

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Alcon announced Sunday it will pay Johnson & Johnson Surgical Vision $199 million to end an intellectual property dispute.

The companies were at odds over laser eye-surgery technology. J&J claimed that Alcon’s LenSx system was developed using stolen software code that originated in J&J’s iFS Laser system. A copyright trial was scheduled to begin Monday.

Alcon’s LenSx system is used in cataract surgery. J&J’s iFS Laser system is used for LASIK vision correction, among other surgeries.

Alcon said in a press release that the agreement resolves “various worldwide intellectual property disputes relating to this matter.” In addition to Alcon’s one-time payment, “the parties have exchanged cross-licenses of certain intellectual property and other mutually agreed covenants and releases.”

If the dispute had gone to a jury trial, $3.7 billion of Alcon’s profits could have been exposed to disgorgement.

According to a Bloomberg Law article, “J&J was seeking to recover Alcon’s profits, including from sales of the artificial lenses doctors use to replace the eye’s natural lens during cataract surgery.”

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The judge overseeing the case called J&J’s plan to go after nearly $4 billion in disgorged profits to be “really greedy.”

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