EFI wins patent lawsuit on its VUTEk inkjet technology
Press release from the issuing company
March 14, 2007--Electronics for Imaging, Inc. the world leader in color digital print servers, superwide format printers and inks, and print management solutions, and its superwide format printer unit VUTEk, recently obtained a sweeping victory in its defense of a patent lawsuit filed by Leggett & Platt, Inc.
A federal judge issued a summary judgment ruling in VUTEk's favor. The ruling decisively concluded that all the asserted claims of Leggett & Platt's (L&P) patent (U.S. Patent No. 6,755,518) are invalid on multiple grounds.
Leggett & Platt brought the lawsuit during EFI's acquisition of VUTEk in May 2005 in its home court of the Eastern District of Missouri, asserting that the L&P patent covered VUTEk's ultra-violet (UV) ink curing technology.
From the outset, EFI maintained that VUTEk was the first to invent and patent the UV technologies in question. The federal judge sided with EFI, finding that VUTEk's UV curing methods were invented and patented first (U.S. Patent Nos. 6,457,823 and 6,616,355) and as result invalidated all of Leggett & Platt's asserted patent claims. The judge also ordered L&P to pay the costs EFI incurred in defending L&P's baseless patent infringement suit.
The victory clears the way for EFI to continue to deliver its innovative next generation wide-format UV printers and inks, including the VUTEk QS2000 and VUTEk QS3200 systems which were released in Fall 2006 and are now shipping to customers worldwide. "The judge's ruling vindicates the innovative team that joined EFI from VUTEk," said Jim Etheridge, EFI's General Counsel. "We believed from the outset that L&P's claims were without merit given VUTEk's early entry into and remarkable success in the digital UV printing market against competitive technologies including those from Leggett & Platt. The market decided clearly which technology it preferred." He added, "L&P has appealed this ruling, but we anticipate the Federal Court in Washington D.C. to reach the same conclusion."
Last week, Durst, another superwide format printer manufacturer, filed its own patent infringement action against EFI in Germany on the use of white ink. Etheridge commented, "We believe this patent to be invalid in light of VUTEk's prior inventions and we expect that Durst also will lose its patent based on invalidity."
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