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NEWS OF 1999

(Mar. 30, 1999)
Nidek Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against VISX

(Feb. 24, 1999)
Nidek Files Counterclaims Against VISX Excimer Laser Patents

(Feb. 18, 1999)
Nidek Responds to Patent infringement Allegations by VISX

(Feb. 5, 1999)
Nidek and Partners Create New Human Graft Tissue Joint Venture

(Feb. 3, 1999)
Nidek wins another round in excimer laser patent litigation

(Jan. 21, 1999)
Nidek defends itself against VISX

NEWS OF 1998

NEWS OF 1997



- SAN FRANCISCO, USA, February 24, 1999 -

In response to patent infringement claims brought by Visx, Inc. (Santa Clara, CA), Nidek Incorporated (Fremont, CA) and Nidek Technologies Inc. (Pasadena, CA) have filed counterclaims alleging fraud, misrepresentation, and nondisclosure of material prior art by Visx. In its response filed last week, Nidek accuses Visx of asserting patents obtained through misrepresentations and fraudulent acts. Nidek requests that three Visx patents be declared invalid and unenforceable. Nidek asks for recovery of its own attorneys fees and costs and the matter be deemed "exceptional" such that Nidek is awarded treble damages. (Case No. C98-04842 CRB, pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco division)

The origins of controversy date back to excimer laser patent applications filed by Francis A. L'Esperance Charles Munnerlyn and Stephen Trokel more than a decade ago. Their competing patents and patent applications provoked several interference actions which exposed the existence of forged documents, material misrepresentations to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), and disputed dates of invention. Nidek alleges, as an example, that a meeting of the parties involved was held in December 1990 to resolve the interference proceedings. As a result, they requested a suspension of the proceedings, in consideration of a contemplated merger of the two companies to whom the patents had been assigned (Tauton Technologies, Inc. and the predecessor of Visx, Inc). Nidek asserts that the PTO was not informed of the basis for resolving the interferences, and contends that the fraudulent settlement of these activities render all of the involved patents unenforceable.

Nidek also claims that Visx has intentionally withheld material prior art from the PTO examiners, including the IBM patent (No. 4,784,135) which teaches the use of an excimer laser to ablate biological tissue without causing damage to surrounding tissue. Failure to disclose this and other prior art references in itself renders at least the Trokel patent unenforceable, according to Nidek. It is also contended by Nidek that Trokel was not the sole inventor having derived the technology from an IBM researcher in the field.

Nidek Co., Ltd. is a 27-year-old privately held company located in Japan, with subsidiary offices in the United States and France. The company's EC-5000 excimer laser has been in development since 1985, and received U.S. regulatory approval for PRK of mild to moderate myopia, in December of last year. Excimer lasers are used to correct refractive errors and reduce dependence on glasses and contact lenses by altering the shape of the cornea in a rapid procedure.

For more information please contact Dr. Ray Sayano of Nidek Technologies Inc. at (626) 578-1351 or by fax at (626) 578-1327.


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