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Tuesday, 02 February 2010


Canon, HP, Ricoh, Fujifilm and Xerox were among the top U.S. patent earners of 2009 in a ranking compiled by IFI Patent Intelligence. Canon placed fourth with 2,206 patents. HP ranked 10th with 1,273 patents, Ricoh ranked 15th with 988, Fujifilm ranked 19th with 880 and Xerox had 706 patents, ranking 28th. If the ranking were to include both Xerox and its Fuji Xerox venture, that number would be 1,331, placing it ninth.

Below are the top U.S. patent earners of 2009, as compiled by IFI Patent Intelligence, a firm specializing in patent databases:

Rank Company Name 2009 Patents
1 INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS MACHINES CORP 4914
2 SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS CO LTD KR 3611
3 MICROSOFT CORP 2906
4 CANON K K JP 2206
5 PANASONIC CORP JP (1) 1829
6 TOSHIBA CORP JP 1696
7 SONY CORP JP 1680
8 INTEL CORP 1537
9 SEIKO EPSON CORP JP 1330
10 HEWLETT-PACKARD DEVELOPMENT CO L P (2) 1273
11 FUJITSU LTD JP 1220
12 LG ELECTRONICS INC KR 1065
13 HITACHI LTD JP 1058
14 HON HAI PRECISION INDUSTRY CO LTD TW   995
15 RICOH CO LTD JP   988
16 GENERAL ELECTRIC CO   979
17 MICRON TECHNOLOGY INC   966
18 CISCO TECHNOLOGY INC   913
19 FUJIFILM CORP JP   880
20 HONDA MOTOR CO LTD JP   774
21 HDENSO CORP JP   745
22 SIEMENS AG DE   716
23 BROADCOM CORP   714
24 SHARP K K JP   657
25 HONEYWELL INTERNATIONAL INC   655
26 TEXAS INSTRUMENTS INC   652
27 NOKIA AB OY FI   648
28 XEROX CORP   624
29 INFINEON TECHNOLOGIES AG DE   605
30 LG DISPLAY CO LTD KR (3)   597
31 HYNIX SEMICONDUCTOR INC KR   587
32 SUN MICROSYSTEMS INC   561
33 SEMICONDUCTOR ENERGY LABORATORY CO LTD JP   545
34 BOEING CO THE   534
35 BROTHER KOGYO K K JP   532
35 MITSUBISHI DENKI K K JP   532
35 TOYOTA JIDOSHA K K JP   532
38 GM GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY OPERATIONS INC   531
39 NEC CORP JP   526
40 KONINKLIJKE PHILIPS ELECTRONICS N V NL   515
41 SILVERBROOK RESEARCH PTY LTD AU   474
42 BOSCH, ROBERT GMBH DE   467
43 AT&T INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY I L P   444
44 SANYO ELECTRIC CO LTD JP   443
45 FUJI XEROX CO LTD JP   425
46 SAMSUNG SDI CO LTD KR   423
47 ALCATEL-LUCENT USA INC   413
48 INDUSTRIAL TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH INSTITUTE TW   397
49 NEC ELECTRONICS CORP JP   391
50 HITACHI GLOBAL STORAGE TECHNOLOGIES NETHERLANDS B V   385

 

Tuesday, 19 January 2010


Hewlett Packard announced yesterday it will be working with Minneapolis-based Stratasys to bring a line of HP-branded 3D printers to the market. The machines, mainly used in the engineering and mechanical design fields, will start entering the marketplace by the end of the year.

"There are millions of 3D designers using 2D printers who are ready to bring their designs to life in 3D," said Santiago Morera, VP and General Manager of HP's Large Format Printing Business. "Stratasys FDM technology is the ideal platform for HP to enter the 3D MCAD printing market and begin to capitalize on this untapped opportunity."

Stratasys produced its first 3D printer in 2003 and last year broke through the US$15,000 barrier with its entry-level machine, which fits on a desktop. The machines build 3D objects by a process called FDM (fused deposition modeling). In essence, layers of thermoplastic are laid down based on CAD specs to form a three-dimensional prototype. The final product can be used in models, or even to create production parts.

"We believe the time is right for 3D printing to become mainstream," said Stratasys Chairman and CEO, Scott Crump. "We also believe that HP's unmatched sales and distribution capabilities and Stratasys FDM technology is the right combination to achieve broader 3D printer usage worldwide. HP has made a similar move in this market before, capturing a dominant position in large-format 2D printers. Together we hope to repeat this success with 3D printers."  

Friday, 15 January 2010

Heidelberg Canada hosted an event at its Mississauga headquarters this week, focusing on the topic of social media and its potential impact for printing companies.

Former PrintAction editor Julian Mills, now Vice President of Client Development at Prescient Digital Media, highlighted the various ways printers can use emerging social-media technologies to network with its existing clientele, as well as find new prospects. Sites such as LinkedIn and the usage of blogs to keep a company's Internet presence fresh is key to gaining new clients, according to Mills.

The presentation by Mills was followed by a demonstration of Heidelberg's Anicolor press and its low-waste, quick change-over abilities.
Monday, 11 January 2010


Jim Rimmer, famed Canadian typographer and designer, passed away last Friday after a battle with cancer. He was 76.

Rimmer founded Vancouver-based Pie Tree Press after retiring from a career as a linetype operator at the North Shore Citizen.

"I didn't quit just because I was 65. It was just good timing. I was living as an illustrator and letterer and that kind of work just completely disappeared," Rimmer told PrintAction in a story about him in September 2003. "The trade was beginning to evaporate. So I left letterpress as a trade but continued to practice it as a craft."

At Pie Tree Press and Rimmer Type Foundry in his home city of New Westminster, BC, Rimmer was able to express his talents in letterpress and design at a time when the craft hit a resurgence in the art community. Despite an initial mistrust of computer technologies, late in his career he embraced it and started designing typography digitally.

Rimmer was responsible for the typeface Stern, the first font to be created in metal and digital formats at the same time. In his career as a type designer, he has created over 200 typefaces. In 2006, Rimmer wrote an autobiography Leaves from the Pie Tree, which features all of this fonts as well as his design philosophy.

Read the September 2003 story on Rimmer and letterpress printing.

Tuesday, 05 January 2010

The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week is to include several e-reader and tablet-computing debuts, including a dual-screen, full-colour, non-E Ink device from Taiwan-based MSI, as well as a $199 tablet reader by Freescale, the chip provider for Amazon's Kindle. On the other end of the size scale, a company called Interead will be introducing the smallest e-reader, weighing in at 5.8 ounces for a 6-inch E Ink screen.

More details have also emerged for the e-reader venture of Hearst Corporation, Skiff. The Skiff Reader, which has a somewhat vague release date of "2010" features the largest e-paper display on the market, a 11.5-inch screen with a resolution of 1,600 x 1,200 pixels.

The large size of the device allows better reproduction of newspaper and magazine content. The device weighs just one pound and features a touchscreen display by LG Display. Connectivity will be handled by Sprint via 3G, but the e-reader is also capable of WiFi connections.

Apple, meanwhile, will be announcing its Tablet device on January 27, at least according to the Wall Street Journal, to be shipped in March.


Wednesday, 16 December 2009

The National Post is reporting an elaborate case of fraud has been uncovered which traces back to a small Toronto-based printer. The alleged fraud centers around Tzvi Erez, the print shop owner of E Graphix Ltd.

According to the Post, the scam involved 76 high-profile investors from Toronto's Jewish community, who lost more than $27 million. Erez is alleged to have claimed to be brokering large print jobs for blue-chip clients, and then asked the alleged victims for cash advances on large printing orders, claiming a return on original investment plus 30 percent per annum on delivery. There were no large orders, and money was diverted to attract more alleged victims.

Erez's lawyer claims the money was lost gambling in an effort to repay investors, which, according to the newspaper article, casino records seem to collaborate at least in part.  A bankruptcy order has been issued to Erez and all of his companies. A criminal investigation is currently underway by the Toronto Police Services' Fraud Squad, with police asking for victims to step forward.

Read the full story here.


Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Transcontinental Inc. released its fourth-quarter results (ended October 31, 2009), which saw the company grow 15 percent in operating income, despite a nine percent decrease in revenues compared to the same quarter in 2008. The company, in its 2009 fiscal year, saw an overall three percent operating income decrease and six percent decrease in revenues  when compared to 2008.

“I am particularly proud of our operating performance in the fourth quarter — one of the best in our history — and the steady improvement in our financial results over the course of the year in very turbulent conditions,” said François Olivier, President and Chief Executive Officer in a statement. “We are making it through this serious recession by doing better than most of our main competitors and gaining back much of the ground lost compared to 2008."

The company saw a decline in the printing sector in the past year, with revenues dropping from $1.54 billion to $1.4 billion between 2008 and 2009. Its Marketing Communications sector rose from $341.7 million to $373.5 million.

Due to the North American recession, the company was unable to reach its goal of five percent organic growth in sales per year, which was set in its Evolution 2010 plan, introduced back in 2005. Instead the company shrunk 11 percent in 2009, compared to the growth of two percent in 2008.

“We also signed financing agreements for a total of $888 million despite the tight credit situation, and we did so at competitive rates," continued Olivier. "I see this as acknowledgement by investors of our financial credibility, as well as their confidence in our growth strategy and prospects for the future. We plan to maintain our prudent balance between profits, costs, debt and investments."


Monday, 07 December 2009


Mitsubishi Lithographic Presses USA, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries announced that the parent corporation plans to establish a new company which will be focused on printing and paper converting machinery, starting July 1, 2010.

The new entity will be formed by the merger of MHI Paper & Printing Machinery Division and Printing & Paper Converting Machinery Sales Co. New Mitsubishi printing presses sold in North America, Central America and Mexico by MLP U.S.A. all originate from the Paper & Printing Machinery Division.

The new company will handle all business activities associated with Mitsubishi sheetfed, commercial web and newspaper presses, as well as paper converting and box-making machinery. It will be responsible for design, manufacturing, procurement, marketing, quality assurance and after-sales service.

The company explains the change as "an opportunity to implement even more dynamic strategies for product development and localized marketing. By dedicating resources to this area of business, the new company will be able to respond precisely to today's diversified customer need and expand the Mitsubishi brand to emerging markets."

Tuesday, 08 December 2009


C.J. Graphics hosted an open house celebration last Friday which featured a food drive for the Daily Bread Food Bank and a live auction. Vendors, clients and other members of the industry attended the event at the plant on Park Lawn Road in Toronto, which also featured a travelling magician and a gallery display. Host and Auctioneer Jay Mandarino took bids for about 20 items donated by various suppliers and with all $5,100 going to the Daily Bread Food Bank.

This is the 24th annual open house party by C.J. Graphics, which started at the company's 645 King Street East location with only 125 people. According to the company, more than 1,400 guests made an appearance and donated more than 3,410 lbs of food (more than double of last year's total).

Below are pictures from the event.


 
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, 04 December 2009

Hearst Corporation has announced its own consumer e-reading device, scheduled to launch in 2010. The service, named Skiff, will "feature a comprehensive selection of newspapers, magazines, books and other content from multiple publishers, uniquely optimized for wireless delivery to devices and delivery via the Web."

“Skiff’s goal is to connect publishers and marketers with consumers,” said Gilbert Fuchsberg, president of Skiff, which has offices in both New York City and Palo Alto, Calif. “We will accomplish this by delivering engaging reading experiences that consumers will value and a business model that respects publishers’ needs.”

Skiff is a digital content system more than a reader, designed to streamline the digital publishing process for publishers.

“Navigating new digital technologies is extremely challenging for publishers, which is why Skiff exists—it will give publishers a strong partner that can help them succeed in e-reading,” said Kenneth A. Bronfin, president of Hearst Interactive Media. “Skiff will offer publishers a way to participate across the full value chain, from shaping publication design to selling advertising to maintaining subscriber relationships, so that they can better control their destiny as e-reading expands.”

Skiff has also partnered with a company called Marvell, a manufacturer of semiconductors, to create a "system on a chip," which will enable other manufacturers to build-in Skiff and more easily create devices. By supporting a variety of device makers, Skiff will make it easier for publishers to distribute content and advertising broadly across multiple devices from a range of manufacturers. Skiff also will have Sprint wireless capability and Skiff readers will also be sold through 1,000 of Sprint's retail locations in the U.S.

The Skiff platform also has robust support for advertisers, including advanced tracking abilities through Nielsen and comScore to help with advertising analytics.

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