On Thursday, November 13, two milestone events took place that will be important for the future of web-to-print systems in Europe.
The first was the declaration by a German patent court that a key Vistaprint patent was invalid. For several years, Vistaprint has been filing lawsuits against European web-to-print providers based on the European patent, and several companies had gotten out of the business or made financial settlements with Vistaprint. But one of them, Unitedprint, decided to fight the suit in patent court, and it has now prevailed. The court ruled the patent invalid because the technology involved had already been in general use when it was granted. This means that a dark cloud hanging over the market has been removed, and companies (both system vendors and printers) will be less hesitant about getting involved with web-to-print systems.
The second event was the acquisition of the web-to-print software developer diron, one of the leaders in the European market, by CeWe Color, Europe’s largest photofinisher. This will give diron access to CeWe Color’s huge financial resources, and it could help diron become a major international player in the web-to-print market.
You can find more details on both news items at www.beyond-print.net.