Hoya, Zeiss Sign Free-Form Technology Agreement

SAN DIEGO—Fresh from its recent victory over Signet Armorlite in a landmark patent lawsuit over back-surface free-form progressive lenses, Carl Zeiss Vision announced that it has entered into a license agreement with Hoya Vision Care Corporation that covers the same technology.

The agreement with Hoya covers Carl Zeiss Vision International’s U.S. Patent No. 6,089,713 and Australian Patent No. 739,849. The patents cover certain types of back-surface free-form progressive lenses and processes by which they are made. These include types of progressive lenses whose front surfaces are rotationally symmetric with the back-surface progressive design determined by the individual prescriptions alone or in combination with other customization options, according to Carl Zeiss.

“The back surface free-form lens technology covered by our patents is an important innovation with implications for the manufacture of quality ophthalmic lenses and the delivery of superior visual solutions to the market,” said Joe Donahoe, Carl Zeiss Vision’s president, North America. “We’re pleased to license our patented technology to Hoya via this agreement.”

Carl Zeiss and Hoya are also exploring the exchange of licenses in other related technology areas, according to Carl Zeiss.

The patent infringement lawsuit between spectacle lens makers Carl Zeiss Vision International GmbH and Signet Armorlite concluded earlier this month in Zeiss’ favor when a federal court judge tripled the amount of damages a jury had awarded Zeiss and ordered Signet to pull its Kodak Unique progressive lens from distribution. The case has drawn widespread attention throughout the optical industry because it concerns the licensing of patents for backside progressive lenses, a fast growing product category.

Signet Armorlite is planning to appeal the court’s ruling.