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Zeiss and Topcon Settle Trade Secrets Lawsuit

Zeiss and Topcon Settle Trade Secrets Lawsuit

February 02, 2024

Carl Zeiss Meditec AG announced a favorable resolution in its lawsuit against Topcon's U.S.-based subsidiaries, marking the conclusion of the legal dispute in the U.S. federal court for the Northern District of California. The settlement emphasizes the protection of ZEISS's trade secrets and aims to restore fair competition. The lawsuit alleged that Topcon had illicitly obtained stolen ZEISS files containing highly confidential information, prompting the court to issue a preliminary injunction against Topcon.

As part of the settlement, Topcon has agreed to significant concessions:

● Pay a substantial undisclosed financial award to Carl Zeiss Meditec AG’s U.S. subsidiary within 30 days.

● Destroy and refrain from using any stolen ZEISS information within Topcon and by its external developers.

● Return a ZEISS CIRRUS device and related software that was improperly procured and wrongfully used by Topcon.

● Destroy all copies of source code for Topcon’s HFA Extractor and DICOM Decoder software applications, developed using information stolen from ZEISS.

● Remove DICOM Decoder from customers worldwide who have versions of Topcon’s Harmony with that feature.

Additional terms of the settlement impose a permanent ban on using the source code for Topcon's HFA Extractor or DICOM Decoder to develop similar products. Moreover, Topcon is subjected to a two-year worldwide ban on the development or release of features equivalent to its HFA Extractor or DICOM Decoder offerings. An additional two-year ban is imposed on employees or consultants involved in the case, preventing them from developing similar features using reverse engineering with ZEISS proprietary data.

Euan S. Thomson, Ph.D., CEO of Carl Zeiss Meditec Inc., emphasized the company's commitment to innovation and protecting their market position, stating, "Developing market-shaping healthcare innovations to improve patients’ lives is what we do at Carl Zeiss Meditec; it’s in our DNA. And we cannot tolerate theft of our technologies of any kind."

The settlement, effective since January 9, 2024, concludes the case of Carl Zeiss Meditec, Inc. v. Topcon Medical Systems, Inc., Topcon Healthcare Solutions, Inc., et al., in the United States District Court, Northern District of California, Oakland Division (case no. 19-cv-04162-YRG). The court retains jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the settlement for a period of five years.

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