Printing Industries of America (PIA)

Printing Industries of America Takes on Issue of Patent Trolling

Printing Industries of America’s President and CEO Michael Makin issued the following notice to its membership.

Dear Members:

In recent months, Printing Industries of America has seen an alarming increase in the number of printers who have reported being targeted by law firms alleging they are infringing patents for technologies as ubiquitous in the industry as prepress workflow, computer-to-plate, and Web-to-print.

This experience is consistent with a disturbing trend in the country—patent trolling. According to a recent report by The White House, suits brought by patent trolls have tripled in the last two years, rising from 29 percent of all infringement suits to 62 percent of all infringement cases.

The patents in question describe a method or process, allowing patent holders to go after the users of technology—printers in this case—rather than limiting their focus to technology manufacturers. The patent trolls do not just target large companies. Small, medium, and large printers have been sent threatening letters demanding recompense for patent infringement.

Printing Industries of America is working on a strategy to address this issue, which includes researching the alleged patents, retaining a patent attorney for strategic advice, and initiating legislative activity. We are actively seeking a legislative fix that would prevent frivolous patent trolling and are fighting for retroactive protection for those of our members that are currently victims of this reprehensible practice.

Fighting this issue requires substantial resources, and we may be asking for members to assist us financially as we delve further into the issue. In the interim, if your company has received a letter from a law firm alleging patent infringement, please share these details with Jim Workman at 1-800-910-4283 (ext. 710) or jworkman@printing.org.

Stay tuned for further developments.

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