Memjet files patent claim against HP

Jo Francis
Thursday, August 13, 2015

Memjet is taking legal action against HP in the USA, alleging multiple patent infringements across a wide range of inkjet printers – including the T-series inkjet web presses and HP’s latest PageWide printers.

The lawsuit was filed against Hewlett-Packard Company in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California.

Memjet is claiming infringement of eight of its patents related to its own single-pass page-wide inkjet technology, known as ‘Waterfall’.

The firm cited existing HP PageWide printers including office and wide-format models and the T-Series inkjet web presses, as well as future wide-format and 3D printers that could use the same technology.

“The lawsuit seeks both to enjoin Hewlett-Packard from its unauthorised use of Memjet’s patented page-wide Waterfall technology, and to recover damages resulting from Hewlett-Packard’s unauthorised use of that patented technology in HP’s PageWide printer products,” Memjet stated.

HP’s single-pass PageWide wide-format range was launched earlier this year and the first models are set to begin shipping next month. But its T-series inkjet web has been on the market since Drupa 2008 and the Pro-X office printers using PageWide technology were launched in 2012.

It’s not clear why Memjet has decided to launch the action at this time. The firm was unavailable for further comment at the time of writing.

One observer noted: "They are putting their head in the lion's mouth taking on HP. I imagine HP's lawyers are looking forward to the fight. I'd be very surprised if they don't have a pile of patents ready to throw back at them." 

In an interview with American reseller Castle Ink, published in May this year, Memjet general manager for wide-format Kevin Shimamoto said: “As the inventor of single pass in wide format, we feel good that we got to the market first, and now others are joining such as HP. It did provide some further validation to our idea to have one of the top printer companies in the world moving into this space.”

Memjet claims that its technology is protected by “approximately 5,000 global patents, with another 500 patents pending”. More than 2,000 of those patents were granted in the USA.

Inkjet expert Mike Willis, managing director at consultancy Pivotal Resources, commented: "Memjet has a large patent portfolio, but only a small number that could be inconvenient for others in the field."

Memjet technology is used in a range of inkjet printers from other suppliers, including models from Canon, Delphax, Neopost, Printware, RTI Digital and Xerox.

HP told PrintWeek that it was company policy not to comment on pending litigation.


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