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Eyewear Designer Zenni Optical Prevails in Major Patent Dispute with Aspex Eyewear


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Zenni Optical, a premier eyeglasses designer and online retailer, won a major victory in the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Friday, fending off allegations of patent infringement by Aspex Eyewear. The decision ensures continued high-quality and low-cost designs from Zenni Optical, available at http://www.zennioptical.com, and is a positive development for consumers seeking affordable alternatives in the prescription eyewear market.

The disputed patents relate to the use of magnets to hold together the bridges of eyeglasses and clip-on sunglasses. On April 19, a three-judge panel affirmed a U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida judge’s 2012 ruling granting Zenni’s summary judgment motion against Aspex on the basis of collateral estoppel. In accordance with earlier rulings in a separate patent infringement lawsuit brought by Aspex against Altair Eyewear Inc. regarding products materially identical to Zenni’s, the court also affirmed that Zenni had not infringed two of Aspex’s patents, and that judgment should be entered on a third patent because it was previously found invalid for obviousness.

“We are very pleased with the court’s decision. Standing up to Aspex’s baseless claims and aggressive litigation strategy was the right thing to do for both our customers and other designers in our industry, many of whom Aspex has already targeted,” said Levente Tibor Laczay, Chief Executive Officer of Zenni. “We’re pleased that we can continue to sell our line of magnetic snap-on sunshades without interruption.”

Zenni was represented by a team from international law firm Duane Morris LLP, consisting of partners Guy Chambers in the firm’s San Francisco office, J. Rodman Steele in its Boca Raton office and Harvey Gurland in its Miami office; as well as special counsel Siegfried Ruppert, Ph.D., in San Francisco; and associates Kristina Caggiano in Washington D.C., Warren Zaffuto in Miami and Greg Lefkowitz and Karen Kline in Boca Raton. Zenni’s corporate counsel, Philip Green of Green & Green, San Rafael, CA, coordinated the process with Duane Morris.



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