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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS | ORANGE COUNTY BRIEFLY

Police Raid Yields Counterfeit Sunglasses

November 16, 1999|Leslie Earnest

Oakley Inc. investigators and police raided five sites in China and South Africa where counterfeit sunglasses were being made or distributed, the Foothill Ranch-based company said Monday.

Seized in the raid were more than 200,000 pair of fake Oakley sunglasses in various stages of assembly, along with equipment and supplies, the company said. It was the largest number of counterfeit Oakley products ever confiscated in those countries. The raids were conducted between Oct. 8 and Nov. 3 after weeks of investigations, the company said.

Oakley also announced Monday it has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against sunglass and ski-goggle maker Smith Sports Optics Inc. in Ketchum, Idaho, and its parent company Safilo America Inc.

The lawsuit alleges that some Smith sunglass models--including the Slider Bazooka, Toaster and Buzzsaw--infringe on Oakley's XYZ Optics patents. Oakley previously filed similar lawsuits against Nike Inc. and Bausch & Lomb Inc. Oakley maintains that the XYZ Optics technology, used in all of its sunglasses, lessens lens distortion in glasses that are curved both vertically and horizontally for better eye protection.

The lawsuit against Smith Sports also claims that some Smith models, including its Slingshot, Boomerang and Moab H/P models, infringe on Oakley's wraparound, single-lens M-Frame model design patent.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Santa Ana.

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