Bausch & Lomb, Novartis Unit Settle Patent Case

Bausch & Lomb's ( BOL) patent battle with CIBA Vision, a unit of Novartis AG ( NVS), officially ended Friday, with both companies signing a global settlement to cross-license their contact lens technologies.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Bausch & Lomb will pay CIBA royalties on net U.S. sales of PureVision brand contact lenses until 2014 and on sales outside the U.S. until 2016. The two companies had been engaged in a protracted battle over rival silicone hydrogel contact lens technologies.

"While the process that led to this settlement was a long one, both CIBA Vision and Bausch & Lomb believe the settlement is in the best interests of eye care professionals and consumers around the world," said Andrea Saia, president of CIBA's global lens business.

In reaction to the news, shares of Bausch & Lomb rose 19 cents, or 0.3%, to $64.47, while shares of Novartis rose 53 cents, or 1.2%, to $44.85.

The specific terms of the agreement are confidential, but the settlement effectively ends years of patent lawsuits between the companies, which were pending in Federal District Courts in Georgia, Delaware and New York, as well as Germany, Ireland, Australia and the European Patent Office.

Bausch & Lomb said the settlement would have no impact on its previously issued guidance for 2004, and said it will resume selling and manufacturing PureVision lenses in the U.S. on April 27, 2005.

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