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Anoto forms Joint Venture with Hitachi Maxell and takes over digital pen production


Anoto and Hitachi Maxell Ltd. today announced they will form a joint venture company for the Japanese market and transfer the ownership of Hitachi Maxell’s digital pens to Anoto. According to the contract, Anoto takes over full ownership, including production, of the Maxell digital pen. The Maxell digital pen is based on Anoto´s technology and intellectual property rights.

The new joint venture, Anoto-Maxell K.K., will handle sales and distribution of digital pens on the Japanese market and selected markets in Asia. All other markets will be served through the organisations in Lund, Sweden or Boston, US. Anoto-Maxell K.K. will be owned 19.9 % by Hitachi Maxell and 80.1 % by Anoto and will be fully operational on July 1, 2008. At the same time, the ownership of the Hitachi Maxell digital pen will be transferred.

The joint venture further strengthens Hitachi Maxell’s and Anoto’s cooperation in the area of digital pen and paper on the Japanese market as Hitachi Maxell personnel with digital pen expertise will be transferred to the joint venture. This will add valuable expertise to Anoto who will continue to run the production of the digital pen as previously run by Hitachi Maxell. It will also enhance the opportunities to customize solutions. With the agreement Anoto now controls the main part of the value chain and will significantly increase its possibilities to respond to customer demands and further shorten the time to customer.

Since 2002, Hitachi Maxell, Ltd. in Japan has been working in close collaboration with Anoto in Lund, regarding the development of new digital pen products. Over the years Hitachi Maxell has developed two generations of pens that have been sold worldwide under the Maxell brand name. Just recently the third generation pen, Hitachi Maxell’s first consumer pen, was finished developing and will be launched in this summer. In 2007 Hitachi Maxell set up production of an Anoto branded digital pen, taking the first step towards a closer collaboration which the new joint venture now further strengthens.

Anoto-Maxell K.K. will have its office in Tokyo and will employ approximately 12 people from both Hitachi Maxell Digital Pen Division and Anoto Nippon K.K. Other Hitachi Maxell personnel will during a period work for Anoto AB and its pen production and development.

“We are very pleased with the increased cooperation with Hitachi Maxell. This means that Anoto no longer is dependent on external parties for supplying digital pen products in the future. This allows us to take a further step in the value chain and it also enables an increased focus on better meeting the needs of our big, Japanese partners”, says Anders Norling, CEO of Anoto.

“Collaborating with Anoto AB, we could launch various new products.” said Masaru Kamemoto, General Manager of Hitachi Maxell Digital Pen Division. “We are pleased to be partnered with Anoto as we move into this expanding market and we believe this new formation will strengthen Anoto-Maxell for providing valuable digital pen solutions to Japanese customers.”


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