Tuesday, 5 May 2009

European damages "equal legal fees"

A short, newsy item in NewsTimes ("Presstek wins patent cases in federal, German courts", by staff writer Richard Lee) relates the successful enforcement of its printing plate technology by US-based Presstek Inc. against Israel-based Vim Technologies, its German distributor Reinsch Handel and Mr Reinsch himself. Said Presstek spokeswoman Betty LaBlaugh:
"It's huge. We're all for a competitive free market, but we've invested in developing this technology and taken time to patent it. We're going to protect those patents. The court has ordered them to give us (advertising and sales) information so we can seek damages".
James Van Horn, Presstek's general counsel, enthuses in much the same vein:
"This judgment should serve as a warning that the purchase and use of VIM products violate patent rights and come with the risk of significant liability. Our objective is to end the unlawful sale and use of the infringing VIM products and to recover damages from the manufacturers, distributors and, in some cases, the end-users of these products".
Presstek does not however expect any financial windfall as a result of its win in the German court. According to Mark Nowotarski, president of Markets, Patents & Alliances LLC in Stamford:
"In Europe, you do it to send a message. The damages you collect are equal to the legal fees".
Presstek is presumably no stranger to legal fees, having already successfully litigated the same patent against VIM in New Hampshire and with proceedings for patent and trade mark infringement currently progressing before the International Trade Commission.

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