Opternative Sues Warby Parker Over Online Eye Exams

November 10, 2017: By Jon Swedien

legal issuesOpternative, the Chicago-based online vision test company, has filed a lawsuit against online eyewear retailer Warby Parker. The suit follows Warby Parker’s launch of a competing online vision test.

In the suit, filed Oct. 16, Opternative said Warby Parker breached nondisclosure agreements and misappropriated trade secrets when it launched its online eye exam in May 2017. Opternative launched its online eye exam in 2015.

In 2013, when Opternative was still developing its test, the company had discussions with Warby Parker about a potential partnership and possibly an acquisition by Warby Parker of Opternative.

During those discussions, Opternative said it required Warby Parker to sign nondisclosure agreements as it shared proprietary information. Opternative alleges Warby Parker violated those agreements in creating an online eye exam that is derivative of its own.

No partnership or acquisition was ever agreed to among the companies.

“Despite assurances to the contrary, Warby Parker had already developed an intent to develop its own online eye exam system, even as it negotiated for unfettered access to the inner workings of Opternative’s system,” the suit states.

Warby Parker has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. In its motion to dismiss, Warby Parker said Opternative’s suit fails to show similarities between the two eye exams and the information Opternative shared was “limited, nontechnical information.”

“This action is an attempt by the plaintiff to recover through the courts where it has failed in the marketplace,” Warby Parker said in the motion.

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