This Week in Digital Imaging: MPHJ Scan-Patent Enforcer Gets off Easy? Good News from Sharp, Kodak; More

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Photo credit: Kathy Wirth

Perhaps the most interesting news this week was that U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) settled with notorious “scan-patent troll” MPHJ Technology Investments. There were many howls of indignation that the settlement really doesn’t do much, except require MPHJ not to be deceptive in its practices. For instance, MPHJ cannot state in a demand letter that it will file a lawsuit (against a company it claims is violating its scan patents) unless MPHJ is actually prepared to file a lawsuit. If you enjoy reading legal settlements, and you’re so inclined, you can read the settlement here.

Currently, on another front, Hewlett-Packard, Xerox, and others are challenging the validity of the scan patents themselves, arguing that their own products pre-date the scan patents, thus making them invalid. If the U.S. Patent Office decides in their favor, that would likely mean the end of MPHJ’s scan-patent enforcement activities.

There was good news from both Sharp Corporation and Eastman Kodak, both of which reported encouraging results for their latest fiscal periods. This follows up on good financial news from other vendors such as Epson, Lexmark, Konica Minolta, and OKI.

In the new solutions department, Konica Minolta reports that its bEST bizhub MFPs are now compatible with Inofile’s Kno2 cloud-based document platform for securely storing and sharing healthcare-related documents. Overall, secure and easy sharing of healthcare documents, at least in the United States, continues to be problematic, with many healthcare providers still using paper documents and still using the good old-fashioned fax machine in order to share them with other providers. One problem seems to be that some digital systems aren’t compatible with other systems. For an interesting look at one doctor’s experience with incompatible digital systems, see this recent New York Times story, Doctors Find Barriers to Sharing Digital Medical Records.

It seems that every week there’s another story about Canon taking on the role of TONERPOL, an international force of justice that travels the world and conquers ink and toner pirates. It’s a thankless role but somebody has to do it. This week Canon returns to Russia to continue the campaign.

Feature Stories

  • FTC: MPHJ Can Continue to Send Demand Letters for Use of Scan Patents – Read more here.

New Products and Solutions

  • Kno2 Healthcare Information-Exchange Platform Now Available for Konica Minolta MFPs – – Read more here.
  • New Mid-Volume Document Scanner from Epson, the WorkForce DS-520, with Scan to Cloud – Read more here.

Financial News

  • Sharp Reports Profitable Fiscal Half-Year; Forecasts Higher Sales for Full Year – Read more here.
  • In Landmark Third Quarter, Kodak Returns to Profitability – Read more here.

Other News

  • Western Europe Printer and MFP Shipments Stable, but Revenue Under Pressure, Reports IDC – Read more here.
  • Canon Opens Customer Experience, Customer Service Centers in Western U.S. – Read more here.
  • ReadSoft is Now Officially Part of Lexmark International, Merged into Perceptive Software – Read more here.
  • Sharp’s Direct Sales Force Opens New Showroom and Sales Center in Chicago – Read more here.

Legal Briefs

  • Canon Takes Toner-Cartridge Patent-Infringement Campaign to Russia – Read more here.

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