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Seiko Epson Corporation Sues Medea International Limited


- LONDON, UK, February 22, 2006 -

Seiko Epson Corporation (“Epson”) has started patent infringement proceedings in the English High Court against Medea International Limited in respect of UK patents belonging to Epson, which Epson believes are infringed by Medea International by importing ink cartridges compatible with Epson printers into the UK. Medea International sells these imported cartridges in the UK under a number of brands, including Inkrite PhotoPLUS.

Following rumours within the industry that Medea International is not infringing any UK patents by importing cartridges into the UK that are compatible with Epson printers, Epson has now chosen to set the record straight.

Medea International Ltd has been making public claims about the cartridges they are importing into the UK and and then selling in the UK under the Inkrite PhotoPLUS brand. These new cartridges incorporate a spongeless valve design which is said by Medea to be “revolutionary”, “radically different and unique”. The spongeless valve design is similar to an EPSON invention commonly known as “Epson Smart Valve Technology” and is the subject to a number of Epson patents which date back a number of years. Obviously Epson would agree that the “Smart Valve Technology” is revolutionary and Epson owns UK patents relating to this technology.

Epson devotes huge resources to research and development in order to give consumers the very latest technology and best experience in ink-jet printing. In the last year alone Epson has won over 300 awards for its products across Europe. The cost of all this research and development is of course a manufacturing cost for Epson and represents a huge investment. To protect this investment Epson also devotes time and resources into protecting its intellectual property.

Seiichi Hirano, chief executive of the Imaging Products Operations Division, Seiko Epson, said, “Epson is one of the world’s leading digital imaging brands, providing its customers with high quality products and services. Our innovative research and development has produced breakthroughs such as the Micro Piezo printhead, the 3LCD projector and ink technologies such as DURABrite Ultra and UltraChrome K3. We do not take the decision to litigate against another company lightly. However to protect our technology against the various claims being made by Medea International and by their continued acts of importation into the UK which infringe Epson’s UK patents and which undermine the benefits provided to our customers, Epson has been forced into taking the decision of starting UK patent infringement proceedings.”

For more information on the Epson Smart Valve Technology please see

About Epson
Epson is a global leader in imaging products including printers, projectors and LCDs. With an innovative and creative culture, Epson is dedicated to exceeding the vision and expectations of customers worldwide with products known for their superior quality, functionality, compactness and energy efficiency.
Epson is a network of 98,480 employees in 107 companies around the world, and is proud of its ongoing contributions to the global environment and to the communities in which it is located. Led by the Japan-based Seiko Epson Corp., the Group had consolidated sales of 1479.7 billion yen in fiscal 2004.


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