Opternative sues Warby Parker, claims company stole online eye exam tech

Chicago-based Operternative filed a legal complaint last month alleging online eyeglass retailer Warby Parker violated a non-disclosure agreement when it launched its "Prescription Check" feature, reports TechCrunch.

The lawsuit, filed in a New York District Court, claims Warby Parker's tool used proprietary information and technology obtained from Opternative, a digital health company that offers an online refractive eye exam service, under a non-disclosure agreement.

Opternative is seeking compensation for damages that ensued following the breach of contract and theft of trade secrets, as well as the reassignment of Warby Parker's eye test patent, which it alleges to be an imitation of its technology.

"We have spent countless hours, days, weeks and years pouring our hearts and minds into building Opternative's intellectual property and making ocular telehealth accessible to more people," Opternative co-founder and Chief Science Officer Steven Lee, OD, told TechCrunch. "It is a huge disappointment that another company, which was in the startup category like us not too long ago, would take advantage of us for their own financial gain."

Warby Parker called the allegations "preposterous," and said it is ready to take all the necessary steps to refute the claims.

"Over the years, we've looked at many potential solutions, including Opternative's test. We gave Opternative the opportunity to demonstrate that its product could live up to the high standards of quality and service that customers have come to expect from Warby Parker. Ultimately, they failed to meet those standards, and we determined that the product and user experience were unfit for our customers," the company wrote in a statement to TechCrunch. "This is an unfortunate example of a company choosing to address competition with litigation instead of innovation."

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