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Presstek Files Suit Against Fuji: Says Plate for Heidelberg Violates Patents

Press release from the issuing company

September 17, 2003 -- (WhatTheyThink.com) -- Presstek has initiated a patent infringement suit against Fuji Photo Film Co., Ltd. of Japan for violation of Presstek's patents pertaining to lithographic printing plates. The suit was filed in the Federal Republic of Germany. Reached last evening, Presstek’s CEO Ed Marino said that the product in question is the Caleidoplate which Heidelberg announced at CeBIT in March. In a statement, Marino stated that Presstek encourages competition and working toward OEM agreements with potential partners. He also noted that the company has “invested heavily in the development of a substantial portfolio of intellectual property and high quality products and believe that it is our responsibility to our OEM partners, end-user customers, employees, and investors to protect this investment." The Caleidoplate is being manufactured for Heidelberg by Fuji. The legal action is not expected to effect Presstek's recently announced OEM agreement, or its relationship, with Heidelberg. March 2003: Heidelberg presented the Quickmaster DI 46-4 Pro digital offset press with a package consisting of the Saphira Caleidoplate 46 plate material and format-dependent spooling of the printing plate role at CeBIT in March. This is an alternative to the Presstek PearlDry Plus for its Quickmaster DI, and Smart Spooling software that cuts the amount of plates used. At that time, Heidelberg declined to name the manufacturer but told WhatTheyThink.com that the Caleidoplate product would be available in the U.S. later this year. In March when asked about a possible violation of Presstek’s patents, Marino said he did not have all the information to make a judgment at the time. "What I can say for certain is that Presstek has a significant portfolio of intellectual property in the area of media around the DI. It is our obligation to our shareholders and employees to defend our patents as necessary." John Zarwan, industry analyst and WTT contributor, wrote in March that Heidelberg’s effort to offer an alternative further validated DI technology and would be good for the industry and Presstek. But he also predicted close scrutiny by Presstek: “While Heidelberg says their supplier assures them that the plate and spooling system violate no patents, Presstek has a number of patents around its plates, direct imaging technology, and the delivery system of the plate on press. Presstek also has aggressively defended its patents. We expect that Presstek will carefully examine all aspects of the Saphira Caleidoplate and the Smart Spooling system and will seek some accommodation should they believe they infringe on their patents.” Neither Fuji or Heidelberg officials were available for comment last evening.