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NEWS RELEASE 99-024; FEBRUARY 24, 1999 February 24, 1999
News Release 99-024
Inv. No. 337-TA-419

ITC INSTITUTES SECTION 337 INVESTIGATION ON CERTAIN EXCIMER LASER SYSTEMS FOR VISION CORRECTION SURGERY AND COMPONENTS THEREOF AND METHODS FOR PERFORMING SUCH SURGERY

The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has voted to institute an investigation of certain excimer laser systems for vision correction surgery and components thereof and methods for performing such surgery. The products and procedures at issue in this investigation change the shape of a patient's cornea so that images are properly focused on the retina, thereby reducing or eliminating the need for corrective eyewear.

The investigation is based on a complaint filed by VISX, Incorporated, of Santa Clara, CA, on January 22, 1999. The complaint, as supplemented, alleges violations of section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 in the importation into the United States, the sale for importation, and the sale within the United States after importation of certain excimer laser systems for vision correction surgery and components thereof that infringe three U.S. patents owned by VISX. In its complaint, VISX requests that the ITC issue a permanent exclusion order and permanent cease and desist orders.

The ITC has identified the following companies as respondents in the investigation:

By instituting this investigation (337-TA-419), the ITC has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case. The case will be referred to an ITC administrative law judge, who will schedule and hold an evidentiary hearing. The administrative law judge will make an initial determination as to whether there is a violation of section 337; that initial determination is subject to review by the Commission.

The ITC will make a final determination in the investigation at the earliest practicable time. Within 45 days after institution of the investigation, the ITC will set a target date for completing the investigation. ITC remedial orders in section 337 cases are effective when issued and become final 60 days after issuance unless disapproved for policy reasons by the President of the United States within that 60-day period.

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