J&J wins contact lens case

J&J wins contact lens case

By Martin Burns

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has won an appeals court ruling which means that competitor Novartis AG's European patent for extended-wear lenses is invalid.

The court ruled against Novartis and its Ciba Vision subsidiary after deciding that the Swiss drugmaker did not have a strong enough patent, despite an appeal by the company in July 2009 following an initial verdict, Bloomberg reports.

J&J, which makes Acuvue contact lenses, said it was "very pleased" with the decision, and spokesman Gary Esterow added that the verdict shows Novartis' patent covers too much technology.

In the ruling, UK Court of Appeal Justice Robin Jacob said the lower court "was entirely right to decide the patent was insufficient" and described the patent as "nothing but a hazard to those conducting research into extended-wear contact lenses", Bloomberg noted.

Earlier this year, J&J reviewed its growth strategies for its medical devices and diagnostics division and highlighted how the division generated $23.6 billion (£16.4 billion) in sales in 2009 and became its largest business segment.

by Adrian Galbreth

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