Shortly after settling a long-standing patent dispute over its cosmetic lenses with CooperVision (see previous issue), CIBA Vision has now filed a patent infringement suit against Ocular Sciences in a federal court in California in behalf of its Wesley Jessen subsidiary. OC says it will vigorously defend itself against the allegations, which it finds to be totally without merit.

The new challenge came a few days after OC launched its Biomedics Colors line of disposable soft cosmetic contact lenses for the European market at the Silmo fair in Paris last Oct. 25, as it already had done in the USA and Canada earlier this year. The lenses are made with a proprietary 5-step process that helps simulate the multiple hues of the human iris.

It also came after OC issued a public statement in support of the US Food and Drug Administration's effort to halt the ?illegal sale of decorative contact lenses? without a prescription and without proper fitting. OC claims that it's the only manufacturer of contact lenses that distributes exclusively through eye care practicioners.

OC recorded net income of $11,763,000 in the 3rd quarter ended Sept. 30, as compared to $9,570,000 in the year-ago period. The gross margin improved by 160 basis points. OC's total sales grew by 17 percent to $72.2 million, with increases of 5 percent in the USA and 32 percent abroad. The domestic business benefited from the rollout of OC's new line of disposable Toric lenses in North America. Foreign sales were boosted by the acquisition of the distribution in Japan. The company's broadened product line is allowing it to sign new foreign distribution and marketing agreements.