European Patent Office revokes web-to-print patent
The European Patent Office (EPO) has revoked patent number EP1040428 for a procedure for computerised prepress. According to printing news site Beyond Print the verdict is binding, but not yet legally enforceable. The reasoning behind the verdict has not yet been released.
The patent describes a procedure for producing a print template via a web or LAN server and the web-to-print process. The patent office granted the patent to US company VistaPrint Technologies in November 2004. German companies Socoto, TechConsult and the Peter Schmidt Group lodged objections to this patent. The three companies took action against VistaPrint because they viewed data exchange as being of vital significance for the printing industry. The EPO started examining the case in January.
Bernd Zipper, chairman of the Association for the Promotion of Open Competition (Interessensgemeinschaft zur Förderung des freien Wettbewerbs), founded in December 2007, thinks that other, subordinate patents could also now be revoked. The association is aiming, for example, at the 'Petzold patent', which protects a similar procedure. In this case, the transfer of a parameter file from the user's computer to the digital prepress server is claimed as an additional feature.