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Alcon to pay Johnson & Johnson $199M to settle eye-laser cases


(Reuters) — Alcon Vision LLC will pay Johnson & Johnson’s J&J Surgical Vision Inc.  $199 million to settle legal battles over intellectual property related to the companies’ laser eye-surgery devices, Alcon said in a press release on Sunday.

Alcon said the one-time payment would resolve “various worldwide intellectual property disputes” and that the companies had reached a cross-licensing agreement.

Representatives for Johnson & Johnson did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday on the settlement.

A copyright trial was set to begin this week in Delaware federal court over claims that Alcon stole software from J&J's iFS Laser system, used for LASIK vision correction and other surgeries, and utilized it in Alcon’s LenSx system to treat cataracts. A J&J expert had argued that the company was entitled to at least $3.1 billion in damages.

Both companies also accused each other of patent infringement in claims that had been put on hold by the Delaware court.

New Brunswick, New Jersey-based J&J’s Catalys laser cataract surgery system competes with LenSx.

AMO Development LLC, which J&J acquired in 2017, sued Alcon in 2020 for allegedly stealing thousands of lines of its source code. It accused Alcon in a 2021 court filing of committing “theft and deception on a grand and shocking scale - of the type usually found in paperback novels and Hollywood movies, not real-life disputes between publicly traded companies.”

J&J said Alcon left “smoking guns” in its code that showed its theft, like typographical errors identical to those in J&J’s code and comments dating from before LenSx development started.

U.S. District Judge Colm Connolly said during a 2021 hearing that there was “overwhelming” evidence that Alcon intentionally copied J&J’s code.

Fort Worth, Texas-headquartered Alcon had denied the allegations.

The case is AMO Development LLC v. Alcon Vision LLC, U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware.