U.S. Patent Office Grants Ocuco’s Request to Re-examine Zeiss Lens Patent

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MANCHESTER, Conn.—The U.S. Patent Office has granted Ocuco, Inc.’s request for a re-examination of Carl Zeiss Vision’s patent 6,089,713, which is related to free-form back-side progressive lenses.

Ocuco, which produces Innovations Laboratory Management Software, filed a request for the re-examination in October, 2013, as reported in VMail. In its request, Ocuco claimed there are “substantial new questions of patentability” on all of the claims in Zeiss’ patent.

“If we succeed, it will mean significant savings for our customers, but this is only the first hurdle our re-examination request had to clear,” said Robert Shanbaum, president of Ocuco Inc. “We’ve submitted our arguments to the Patent Office and they’ve agreed to consider them. We’re certainly happy about that.  Now it will be up to the Patent Office and the patentee to put the information we’ve raised to the test. If the Patent Office agrees with our analysis, the ultimate outcome still may not be determined for a year, maybe even a little longer. ”

“Until then,” Shanbaum continued, “I want to stress that Zeiss’ patent remains valid until the Patent Office says it’s not, and Zeiss continues to be entitled to collect royalties from firms that practice their patent.”

A Carl Zeiss Vision spokesperson said in response, “The Patent Office grants re-examination over 90 percent of the time for these types of request, so it is not surprising that they decided to re-examine the Hof/Hanssen ‘713 patent. In over 80 percent of the cases when the Patent Office and patentee put the information raised ‘to the test,’ the patentee prevails. Since the patentability of the claims of the Hof/Hanssen ‘713 patent were thoroughly tested during the Signet litigation, Zeiss remains confident the Patent Office will affirm the Hof/Hanssen technology is indeed patentable. Zeiss will continue to vigorously defend all challenges to the patent’s validity to protect our interests and those of our licensees.

As reported in VMail on August, 2012, Zeiss prevailed over rival lens manufacturer Signet Armorlite in a lengthy lawsuit concerning the ’713 patent.