In an effort to stop an aggressive campaign by a patent holder to extort payments for users of scanners which covert print documents into electronic formats, Xerox and Ricoh have jointly filed a petition to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to review the patent in question: U.S. Patent 7,986,426.
MPHJ Technology Investments, and its affiliates, are sending notices of patent infringement to small and medium-sized users of multi-function printers (MFPs) which demand a license fee. According to a report by Ars Technica, the payment is typically around $1,000 per worker.
Ricoh and Xerox issued the following statement:
“Ricoh and Xerox believe that the ’426 patent is invalid, the infringement claims are without merit and the licensing demands of MPHJ are unsupportable. Today’s filing demonstrates both Ricoh and Xerox’s strong commitment to their customers and authorized dealer networks. If successful, our action will both nullify the ’426 patent and help disable MPHJ’s licensing campaign against our customers. We are confident this is the right action to take to support our customers.”
The ‘426 patent “Distributed computer architecture and process for document management,” is held for systems that allow computer users to add electronic paper processing to their existing business process. In essence, it covers a broad arena that covers scanners and electronic documents.
An abstract of the patent can be viewed here.