This excerpt taken from the EYE 8-K filed Jul 13, 2005.
VISXs business is dependent on the enforceability and the validity of its United States and foreign patents; any unfavorable determinations with respect to these patents could negatively impact VISXs financial condition and harm its business.
VISX owns over 200 United States and foreign patents and has more than 200 patent applications pending. In the past, VISXs patents have been challenged on several fronts and it has asserted its patents against competitors. Generally, these proceedings centered on whether infringement of the patents had occurred, and on the validity or enforceability of the patents. While all of VISXs historical proceedings have now been resolved, VISX may assert its patents against competitors in the future. If VISXs patents were found to be invalid or unenforceable (or in the event that parties against whom VISX asserted patent infringement were found not to be infringing VISXs patents) in any future proceedings, VISXs ability to collect license fees from the parties to the litigation or from other sellers or users of laser vision correction equipment in the United States could suffer and VISXs revenues could decline. In addition, other companies own United States and foreign patents covering methods and apparatus for performing corneal surgery with ultraviolet lasers. If VISX were accused of infringing such competitors patents and found to have infringed such patents, VISX could be subject to significant monetary liability and enjoined from distributing its products. Any one of these results could harm VISXs business.