The Canadian printing industry lost one of its long-time leaders on December 29 with the passing of Phil Wright, age 71, who steered Houghton Boston Printers and Lithographers to become one of the country’s best-known high-quality book-printing operations.

Houghton Boston of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, was founded more than 80 years ago. Wright’s parents, Philip Robert Wright and Helen Wright, purchased the printing company in 1946, which then ran for years with a single-hand press.

After completing a Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Saskatchewan, Phil Wright turned his attention to the family business in 1975 and began to push Houghton Boston to its current position within the Canadian printing community.

Noting how much Wright enjoyed his long, successful career in the printing industry, his obituary in Saskatoon’s The StarPhoenix newspaper includes the following excerpt:

“Phil took pride in his profession, and in the many people who worked along side him over the years. Phil was always a lover of the printed word, whether it was in the form of books, newspapers or magazines. He understood and appreciated the power of printing and publishing and the impact that it could have on so many people. Like his father before him, he will be laid to rest with his line gauge in his hand, the tool of his trade. Phil will always be remembered for his hard work, dedication, compassion and thoughtful wisdom.”

A celebration of Phil Wright's life will be held at the Chapel at Saskatoon Funeral Home on Friday, January 10, beginning at 1:00 pm.

View Phil Wright’s guest book

Nick and Liana Howard officially open Howard Iron Works (HIW) in Mississauga to provide restoration of historic printing equipment and to serve as a globally unique printing museum with machine vintages ranging from the 1830 to 1950s.

The Howards have operated Howard Graphic Equipment Ltd. over the past couple of decades, which supplies and rebuilds modern printing and converting equipment for markets around the world. The business continues into its 46th year, having started in 1967, by Nick's father, Bill.

HIW is the realization of a lifelong dream of Nick and Liana Howard. To help support their endeavor, HIW is also providing leasing and sales from within its large collection, which includes a range of iron presses, cylinders, platens and bindery equipment. HIW's library also features a collection of vintage printing-related books, technical and trade journals.

With uniquely skilled craftspeople, HIW aims to restore equipment just as it would have been when leaving the original factories. One of the current projects at HIW, for example, is the restoration of an 1887 New Champion from New York City. Howard describes this once commonly produced press as a simple platen, often referred to as the Boston Principle, which is quite rare today.

Nick Howard discusses the origins of HIW on page 17 of PrintAction’s July 2013 issue in an article called Restoring Printing’s Past, produced by columnist Victoria Gaitskell

Read Restoring Printing’s Past

PaperlinX Ltd. today announced that it has lodged a complaint against paper manufacturer and supplier Sappi Europe SA through the German Federal Cartel Office, known domestically as Bundeskartellamt (BKA). Sappi has supplied paper products to PaperlinX for a number of years under what PaperlinX describes as a longstanding commercial relationship.

The compliant by PaperlinX, made together with its German subsidiary Deutsche Papier Vertriebs GmbH, against Sappi alleges ongoing pricing and distribution infringements of European Union and German competition law.

PaperlinX describes the context of its compliant in the following statement:

In summary, the complaint submitted by PaperlinX to the BKA on 3 December 2013 sets out the allegation that Sappi is in breach of Article 101(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and sections 1, 20 (1) and 19 (1) (2) no. 1 of the German Act against Restraints of Competition, on the basis that Sappi restricts the customers to whom PaperlinX is able to make indent sales. 

“Indent sales involve supplies of paper directly from Sappi to PaperlinX’s customer’s specified place of delivery, but in respect of which PaperlinX bears all commercial risk with its customer.

More specifically, the complaint alleges that: Sappi varies the prices and/or delivery terms that it offers to PaperlinX according to the identity of the customer to be served by PaperlinX for indent sales; in particular, Sappi has refused to quote or has offered less attractive prices and/or delivery terms where PaperlinX has refused to identify the customer or where the customer was one that Sappi had previously supplied through a different paper merchant and/or that it preferred to supply through a different paper merchant; PaperlinX has found itself unable to compete effectively with other paper merchants where Sappi has refused to quote or has offered less attractive prices and/or delivery terms in this way; PaperlinX has thus over the years been forced into the practice of having to provide customer names to Sappi as the only way to gain competitive prices and has been restricted in its ability to provide competitive quotes to the customers of other paper merchants who are also supplied by Sappi; based on these facts, in PaperlinX's view, Sappi has effectively assigned customers between paper merchants, ensuring that PaperlinX sells Sappi paper products to only certain customers via indent sales and restricting the freedom of PaperlinX under EU and German competition law to sell to whomever it wishes.

The complaint also sets out PaperlinX's view that these practices have had, and continue to have, a serious impact on PaperlinX's ability to compete to win new business and to increase its market share, and that these practices are also to the detriment of printers and other customers in the industry.

Since Sappi has been unwilling to engage with PaperlinX to resolve these issues commercially, PaperlinX is now seeking to protect its interests through a formal complaint to the appropriate national competition regulator. PaperlinX is hopeful that the complaint will bring about a positive change in Sappi’s approach to the issue.

Mary Phillips Hadfield, Co-founder of Kwik Kopy, passed away at her home near Tomball, Texas, on November 26, 2013. She was 83.

Hadfield was born September 26, 1930, in Hancock, Michigan, but grew up in Waco, Texas, moving to Houston in 1954 after graduating from Baylor University.

Four years later, she met her eventual husband and business partner, Bud Hadfield. The two wed in 1960 and were married for 50 years until Bud’s death in 2011.

In 1967, Bud and Mary Hadfield together launched Kwik Kopy Corporation, which is now one of the world’s largest quick-printing franchises. According to the company, Mary proposed the name and design for Kwik Kopy, which Bud initially dismissed as “corny.”

Mary Hadfield primarily served as event planner, editor and interior decorator overseeing the Kwik Kopy brand. At her death, Mary was president of ICED, which is the parent company under which Kwik Kopy currently operates.

Rudy Valenta, a 45-year veteran of the North American printing industry, passed away at his home in Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin, on November 8. He was 69.

Valenta most recently serviced as President of Eltosch America in Brookfield, Wisconsin, and previously held several prominent positions in North American printing, including Senior Product Manager for sheetfed presses at Man Roland and its predecessor company, Rockwell International/Miehle in Westmont, Illinois. He also spent time here as Manager of Miehle’s Demonstration and Training Center.

Valenta was elected President of the Lithographer’s Club of Chicago in 2001, hosted in one of the world’s most historic cities of printing, and for nearly 10 years served on the entertainment committee and on its Board of Directors.

Valenta got his start as a pressman 45 years ago and was later promoted to Lead Pressman for Unique Printers & Lithographers in Illinois, where he honed his trade.

“Rudy Valenta came to Eltosch America in 2001 where he spent the next seven years until his retirement in July of 2008. During this time, as President, he utilized his many years of experience and knowledge of the industry and technology to guide the company and employees through a transition to new owners, and through both ups and downs in the market,” said Niels Frederiksen, President, Adphos North America. “Rudy, who had grown up in the printing industry, from pressman to president, had an unprecedented knowledge that he was only too willing to share with everyone – and everyone could turn to him for advice and support. We will miss Rudy, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and family.”
Valenta, who was recognized as an expert in sheetfed printing, coating and drying, was also an avid fisherman, collector of antique boats, cars and model trains, and an accomplished Cordovox accordion player.

EFI today released a statement that the Federal Patent Court of Germany has invalidated substantial parts of a patent held by Durst Phototechnik Digital Technology GmbH related to white ink printing that Durst had previously asserted in an infringement action against EFI.
Durst sued EFI for allegedly infringing German patent No. 10 2005 006 092. In addition to denying those allegations, EFI filed a nullity action in the Federal Patent Court of Germany, asking that court to invalidate the portions of the patent asserted against EFI on the grounds that what Durst claimed had actually been disclosed years before. German courts in Mannheim and Karlsruhe had already held a Durst utility model claiming the same invention invalid for similar reasons.
On October 23, 2013, the German Federal Patent Court invalidated what EFI referes to as substantial parts of Durst’s patent. Under German law, Durst has the right to appeal. Should there be no appeal, EFI states this lastest decision will conclude a multi-year legal battle initiated by Durst.
“We at EFI believe that competition should be customer-focused, not litigation-focused. It should be based on genuine innovations, not on questionable patent claims. And it should take place in the marketplace, not in the courtroom,” stated EFI’s General Counsel Bryan Ko. “We will always defend ourselves vigorously when necessary, but we will continue to focus first on ideas and technology to help our customers succeed.”

Canadian author Alice Munro has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, the first Canadian woman to receive the honour. 

Dubbed “master of the contemporary short story,” Munro joins the list of distinguished names which include William Golding, Gabriel Garcia Màrquez, Ernest Hemingway, and Samuel Beckett. In all, the award has been presented 106 times to 110 Nobel Laureates. 

Munro, born in 1931 in Wingham, Ontario, studied journalism and English at the University of Western Ontario, but broke off her studies in 1951 to get married. She settled in Victoria, B.C. with her husband, where the couple ran a bookstore. It was this time that she began her writing career. She returned to Ontario after divorcing her first husband.

Along the way, Munro has been awarded the Man Booker Prize in 2009, the Giller prize twice, and the Governor General’s Literary Award three times. She has been characterized by literary critics as a Canadian Chekhov. 

Canadian-born writer Saul Bellow was the first Canadian recipient, in 1976.

Adobe has revealed that a series of attacks on its servers has compromised the security data of 2.9 million of its customers. Information taken includes names, encrypted credit or debit card information, expiration dates and other information.

In a post on the company blog, Adobe Chief Security Officer Brad Arkin states: “At this time, we do not believe the attackers removed decrypted credit or debit card numbers from our systems. We deeply regret that this incident occurred. We’re working diligently internally, as well as with external partners and law enforcement, to address the incident.”

As part of the security measures after the breach, Adobe says it will be resetting relevant customer passwords, notifying customers whose payment information have become compromised, notifying banks and financial institutions of those users as well as contacting federal law enforcement to help with the investigation. 

Customers whose credit or debit card information was involved will be offered a one-year complimentary credit monitoring membership where available.

As well as its customer information, the hackers also accessed source code for numerous Adobe products. In all, according to third party security firm Hold Security LLC investigating the intrusion, 40 gigabytes of data were taken. According to the firm, the hackers involved also previously penetrated LexisNexis, Kroll, NW3C, and many other sites.

Adobe launched Creative Cloud in April 2012 and today is the only method to access the latest version of its Creative Suite products after the company eliminated the perpetual license model earlier this year.

More information for Adobe customers can be accessed here.

Pitney Bowes completed the sale of its Pitney Bowes Management Services arm for US$400 million in cash to funds affiliated with the investment firm Apollo Global Management LLC. Pitney Bowes states proceeds from the sale of the business principally are to be used to pay down debt.

Pitney Bowes Management Services, therefore, becomes a standalone company that is to operate under a new name to be determined by Apollo. The sale of the Pitney Bowes Management Services business to Apollo was first announced on July 30, 2013.

Apollo describes itself as a global alternative investment manager with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Houston, London, Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Singapore, Mumbai and Hong Kong. Apollo had assets under management of approximately US$113 billion as of June 30, 2013, in private equity, credit and real estate funds  across nine core industries.

Pitney Bowes develops software and hardware for direct mail, transactional mail and call-centre communications, along with channel messaging for the Web, email and mobile applications.

The shutdown of the U.S. Government today has had a major impact at the Government Printing Office operations. While the U.S. Congress continues to debate and hammer out a budget, the staff at the GPO will be reduced 70 percent, from its typical workforce of around 1,900.

The shutdown, the first in 18 years, comes after the Senate rejected a spending plan by House Republicans which undermines what is colloquially known as Obamacare. The shutdown affects 800,000 workers in the U.S. government, who will be sent home without pay, and will cost the U.S. economy $1 billion a week.

The continuing GPO operations will be there to support Congress as it works its way through the stalemate. All other purchasing and or printing (other than some designated as “excepted”) will cease until funding is restored.

The GPO posted a message about the situation on its site, which reads:

“In the absence of contact from the GPO Acquisition Services office, your contract is NOT designated as excepted. Therefore, no work is to be performed under your contract after midnight September 30, 2013. This direction is in effect until you are notified by the Contracting Officer that work under your contract shall resume, which is not expected to happen until appropriations again become available for this agency.”

A story by Washington, D.C. publication Roll Call, quoted GPO spokesperson Gary Somerset regarding the GPO’s role during the shutdown: “When Congress’ lights are on, GPO’s lights are on,” Somerset said. “Whether it be a shutdown, blizzard, earthquake or hurricane, GPO employees will fulfill the digital and printing needs of Congress.”

A federal court judge in the U.S. has dismissed a patent infringement lawsuit brought forward by Digitech Image Technologies against EFI and dozens of other defendants, including Apple. The patent, number 6,128,415, is for “Device profiles for use in a digital image processing system” and was originally assigned to Polaroid in 2000.

"We are pleased that the court invalidated the patent, but it was clear this case should never have been filed," said EFI General Counsel Bryan Ko. "It is yet another illustration of how patent trolls are clogging the judicial system and wasting public resources. Until the system changes, however, EFI won't be bullied into settling these abusive lawsuits."

According to EFI, the court invalidated the patent, saying that even Digitech's most "creative arguments" could not "salvage an unpatentable principle and transform it into a patentable process" and that asserted claims are "intangible, possess no meaningful non-abstract limitations, and are therefore ineligible for patent protection."

Digitech was able to extract settlements from a number of parties, including Panasonic, Sony, Acer and Motorola, but EFI was among 35 that did not settle. Digitech is a subsidiary of Acacia Research Corporation, a self proclaimed leader in patent licensing, generating $959 million in revenues as of July 2013. It holds over 250 patent portfolios and has completed more than 1,200 licensing agreements.

Rod McGregor, former President and CEO of the Yorkville Group of companies passed away on Sunday August 4, 2013. He was 74.

Born in 1938, Rod grew up in the Kingsway. He attended Etobicoke Collegiate, Western Technical School and for a short time, Ryerson.

During his time at Yorkville, he grew a small printing operation into one of the largest privately owned printing companies in Canada. In 1986, the organization was sold to Maclean-Hunter, but he continued to lead the printing division until he retired in 1991. The Yorkville plant was purchased by Transcontinental in 1995.

McGregor was surrounded by his loving family, children Laura (and Don) Ross (Emily, Sarah), Duncan (and Shelby) McGregor (Mack, James, Dash) and brother Duncan (and Lynn) McGregor. Rod was predeceased by his wife Margo in May 2007 and by his parents Reid and Genia McGregor.

Visitations will be held on Monday August 12, 2013 from 2 – 4 pm and 6 – 9 pm at the Yorke Chapel of Turner and Porter, 2357 Bloor St. West, Toronto. A memorial service will take place on Tuesday August 13, 2013 at 12 noon at the Kingsway-Lambton United Church,  85 The Kingsway. A Celebration of Life will follow.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to a charity of your choice to contribute to the University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine on behalf of Dr. Silverman’s laboratory research.

Thousands of people, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper, were in the Quebec town of Lac-Mégantic over the weekend to remember the 47 victims who lost their lives in a devastating tanker train derailment.

TC Transcontinental and Resolute Forest Products, both Montreal-based companies aligned to the printing industry, have pledged over $50,000 of support in the continuing efforts to help the people of Lac-Mégantic, a small community of around 6,000 in Quebec’s Eastern Townships.

On July 6, just after lunch hour, an unattended 73-car freight train carrying millions of litres of crude oil began to roll downhill and slammed into Lac-Mégantic’s downtown core and set off a series of explosions and fireballs. More than 30 buildings in the town's centre, roughly half of the downtown area, were destroyed. It is being recorded as the fourth deadliest rail accident in Canadian history, and the deadliest since the St-Hilaire train disaster in 1864.

To assist the efforts of the Canadian Red Cross in gathering donations to help those affected in Lac-Mégantic, TC Transcontinental arranged to make promotional space available in its many community papers, as well as Les Affaires and the Métro Montréal newspaper. In addition, the team of contributors to the show Ça commence bien!, produced by TC Media Production and aired on V, continue to make on-air appeals for donations.

“We know that this gesture of support by TC Transcontinental will help the Canadian Red Cross continue its work in the community knowing that its message is still getting out to the public, that is, that the needs of the people of Lac-Mégantic are many and urgent and that donations are necessary,” stated Isabelle Marcoux, Chair of TC Transcontinental’s Board. “Our TC Media newspapers are a vital source of information in many communities and we are proud to be contributing to the network of support now being built across the country.”

Resolute Forest Products has offered the municipality of Lac-Mégantic lumber to help rebuild the downtown core. The company will also work with its partners and the municipality to identify specific projects.

“Despite the days that have passed since this terrible tragedy, we still have difficulty finding the right words and gestures to express our compassion and support for the people of Lac-Mégantic,” stated Richard Garneau, CEO of Resolute. “As a large company in Quebec, we believe we have an important role to play in assisting the community during this difficult time. The people of Lac-Mégantic are in our thoughts.”

Red Cross donations for Lac-Mégantic

Norman Hughes, a long-time leader and entrepreneur in Canada’s printing and packaging industries, passed away at age 68.

Hughes was the owner of Cardinal Corrugated Containers, which continues to manufacture most any box configuration out of its Pickering, Ontario, facility, including custom corrugated boxes for the packaging sector. According to his obituary, Hughes took great pride in his company and valued his extended family of Cardinal employees.

Born in 1944 in Toronto, Hughes was also very active in the local community by volunteering his time to the Markham Figure Skating Club and several hockey associations. He was a part owner of the Markham Junior B Travelways.

Hughes is survived by his wife Susan, sister Roberta, three children and three grandchildren. Condolences can be accessed at chapelridgefh.com. A private ceremony to remember Norm Hughes was held on July 21 in Markham.

Walter Palka, known throughout Canada’s printing industry as one of its most dynamic and knowledgeable salespeople beginning in the late 1970s, passed away in Toronto on May 6, surrounded by family.

Palka – affectionately known to many in the industry as ‘Mr. Fudge’ – spent the formative years of his long printing-industry career with AB Dick, at a time when it was one of the most-powerful suppliers of printing presses and related products in North America.

He began working with AB Dick in 1974 as a Sales Technician and became Sales Manager of AB Dick in 1980. Palka then took on a sales position with Eskofot, at a time when the company was introducing cutting-edge imaging products. In 2001, Eskofot merged with Barco Graphics, which eventually became today’s powerhouse Esko. Palka then joined Graphic Whizard.

Palka is survived by his wife, Barb, and son, Gregory. Friends may call at the Turner & Porter Yorke Chapel, 2357 Bloor Street West, Toronto, from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday, May 9, 2013.

Funeral Mass will be held at Our Lady of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church, 3055 Bloor Street West, Toronto, at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 10, 2013. Internment will follow at Park Lawn Cemetery.

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