Agfa wins patent case over Xingraphics
Friday, March 1, 2013
Agfa Gevaert has prevailed in its patent infringement lawsuit in the Netherlands against Chinese plate manufacturer Chengdu Xingraphics Co.
The case, which hinged on Agfa’s claim of infringements of its Intellectual Property (IP) by Xingraphics in the Dutch market, reached a verdict in favour of the Belgian manufacturer on 29 January at the Dutch Court of Appeal at The Hague District Court.
The court ruled that Agfa’s patent EP823327 was infringed in the Netherlands by the sales of its Chinese competitor’s FIT digital printing plates, which have been distributed in a number of European countries.
Agfa provided additional evidence to support its case, which confirmed the outcome of the initial hearing that Xingraphics had disputed. The court has ordered Xingraphics and its Dutch dealer Atécé to cease sales of the plates in the Netherlands and to pay damages and legal fees to Agfa.
"This confirms that we have a strong patent portfolio and that our IP rights are well founded," said president of Agfa Graphics Stefaan Vanhooren.
A spokesman for Agfa added: "The Dutch Court is an authority in patent cases, so we can be confident that Xingraphics plates are infringing our plates."
However, a spokesperson for Xingraphics said the verdict "means nothing" as the legal matter would continue when the Chinese manufacturer appeals the court’s decision.
Agfa lost its Netherlands case against Xingraphics in 2009, as well as an additional appeal the following year, in a string of appeals between Afga and Xingraphics that has persisted during the last four years.
Agfa will also target other competitors, including the Fuji and Kodak thermal plate products, and their dealers that are affected by this patent case.
Similar litigation is currently ongoing in Germany at the Landgericht (German court) and a timescale of when the verdict is likely to be reached is unknown.
But Agfa expects the verdict from the appeal court to parallel the Netherland’s outcome. "If it’s going in the same direction it is to be expected that authorities in other countries will consider this verdict in Holland. If would be a strange situation if one court’s verdict is different from and the other," said the Agfa spokesman.