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PIA Combats Digital Workflow Patent Trolls

August 06, 2013
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The Printing Industries of America (PIA) is in the midst of trying to invalidate two digital workflow patents issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that put printers at risk for infringement.

The patents, 6,611,349 (System and method of generating a printing plate file in real time using a communication network) and 6,738,155 (System and method of providing publishing and printing services via a communications network), have allowed its owner, CTP Innovations LLC, to target printing companies, who in some cases have been sued for infringement. The patents address methods for receiving customer files, using a computer network to perform various prepress functions and creating a plate-ready PDF.

“We’re not going to stand by and let a patent troll intimidate our members into paying unnecessary licensing fees,” said Michael Makin, President and CEO of the PIA. “The patents should never have been granted, since the claims were obviously based on prior patents and published documents. I hope this action will give our members the upper hand in fighting these frivolous lawsuits and causes the patent owner to discontinue its licensing campaign.”

The PIA says it hopes the petitions are accepted, after which time there will be a review by the USPTO over 12 months.

In May of this year, Xerox and Ricoh joined forces to combat a different patent holding relating to converting print documents into digital files. In 2011, NPR's This American Life radio show looked at the issue with a segment called When Patents Attack and followed up earlier this year with a second part to the series.

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