Electronics For Imaging, Inc., a world leader in customer-focused digital printing innovation, and its superwide format printer unit VUTEk today announced total victory in patent litigation with Leggett & Platt (L&P) involving EFI's ultra-violet (UV) ink curing technology.
After a string of successful summary judgment motions, one of which was affirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, EFI has reached a non-confidential settlement with L&P that does not require any payment from EFI to L&P. L&P dismissed all of its claims against EFI and promised not to sue EFI or any of its customers based on a claim that EFI products infringe any of the patents-in-suit or any related patent.
L&P first filed the lawsuit in May 2005 against VUTEk during EFI's acquisition of the innovative superwide format printer business. L&P claimed that its patent (U.S. Patent No. 6,755,518) covered VUTEk's technology. From the outset EFI maintained that VUTEk invented and patented the technologies first (U.S. Patent Nos. 6,457,823 and 6,616,355). The US District Court in St. Louis agreed with EFI, invalidating all of L&P's asserted patent claims and ordering L&P to pay EFI's costs to defend the lawsuit. The US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that conclusion in its entirety. In July 2009, the US District Court held that a second L&P patent (U.S. Patent No. 7,290,874) is also invalid in light of EFI's patents and printer design technology.
On April 21, 2009, L&P sued EFI again, alleging infringement of a third L&P patent (U.S. Patent No. 7,520,602). As with the two other patents, EFI moved for summary judgment to invalidate this third patent using the same prior art previously relied upon by the court. Faced with the very real possibility of losing a third patent, L&P approached EFI to settle the dispute. Under the settlement, EFI will pay nothing, agreeing to dismiss its claims that the '602 patent is invalid and to not oppose L&P's motion to vacate the July 2009 decision invalidating the '874 patent. L&P dismissed all claims against EFI and promised not to sue EFI or its customers under these patents or any related patent.
"We are very pleased with this result. A settlement like this-with a patent plaintiff walking away with no payment whatsoever-is rare in modern patent litigation," said EFI's General Counsel Bryan Ko. "This settlement establishes conclusively what we've maintained all along: that EFI invented and patented this technology first."