A jury awarded patent infringement damages of $41,083,853.00 to Rembrandt Vision Technologies, L.P. in its patent infringement trial against CIBA Vision Corporation. Rembrandt Vision Technologies, L.P. v. CIBA Vision Corporation, 2:05-CV-491 (E.D. Texas). The patent infringement lawsuit commenced in 2005 when Rembrandt originally accused both Bausch and Lomb – which settled before going to trial – and CIBA of infringing on U.S. Patent No. 5,712,327. The asserted patent relates to long-term extended wear contact lenses which are more gas permeable, allowing for oxygen exchange, and retain moisture.
Rembrandt is a non-practicing patent holding company – i.e. they don’t manufacture products, they merely file patent infringement lawsuits. As Forbes.com reports, Rembrandt’s parent “has raised $150 million to purchase patents and sue companies it claims infringe on them.” Forbes also reports that numerous patent assertion companies are being funded by institutional investors and hedge funds.
PRACTICE NOTE: Rembrandt’s strategy in settling with Bausch & Lomb raised concerns for co-defendant CIBA. In eBay, Inc. v. MercExchange, LLC, 126 S. Ct. 1837 (2006), the Supreme Court limited the ability of non-practicing patent holders from obtaining permanent injunctions. In an attempt to overcome the eBay decision, Rembrandt – because it is non-practicing patent holder – has reportedly given Bausch & Lomb – who manufactures the product – the right to seek a permanent injunction against infringers.