Pitney Bowes Inc. announced today that it’s suing several companies for infringement of its “272 patent.” Apple stands accused, along with Lexmark International, Matsushita, Panasonic, NEC, Samsung, and Xerox. The company has already won a US$400 million settlement with Hewlett-Packard over the same issue.
Michael Melton is deputy general counsel, Intellectual Property and Technology Law, for Pitney Bowes. In a telephone interview with MacCentral, Melton explained that the patent itself describes a method for altering the dot size used to produce characters on a printed page.
Melton told MacCentral that the LaserWriter line is among those Apple products that infringed the Pitney Bowes patent, which predates Apple’s development of the LaserWriter. Melton also suggested that other Apple products might have infringed the patent, as well.
“We’re hoping that we can negotiate a settlement with these companies,” said Melton.
The suit against Apple was filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut on June 18. Melton said that to date, Apple has not responded to the claim. Melton also said that the eight companies named in its suit aren’t the only ones guilt of infringing Pitney Bowes’ patent.
“We are currently engaged in discussions with these companies and seek a business resolution to these claims. We will continue to look for ways to strategically leverage our intellectual property assets for licensing, and to form partnerships that will further enable us to deliver mission-critical, best-in-class solutions to our customers,” said Melton.
Incorporated in 1920, Pitney Bowes is headquartered in Stamford, Ct. and employs about 29,000 people worldwide. Pitney Bowes makes mail and document handling products and solutions. The company’s 2000 revenues were about US$3.9 billion.
A representative from Apple declined to comment for this story.