Epson predicts $1 billion printer market

March 30, 2015

Epson logoThe OEM reckons that inkjet printers in the residential and commercial segment market will hit 70 million shipments in 2015.

Global laser printer shipments were also anticipated to reach 40 million, Digitimes reported. A source at Epson said that “total market value for inkjet printers in addition to coloured as well as black and white inkjet printers” is to reach ¥12.8 trillion ($1 billion/€985 million), notwithstanding on “overall decline” in shipments for 2015.

The predictions break down the inkjets into: residential and commercial, with ¥3 trillion ($25 billion/€23 billion); black and white, with ¥4 trillion ($33 billion/€30 billion); and coloured, with ¥4.5 trillion ($37 billion/€34 billion). Epson also found that in the Japanese market revenues from printers dropped 10 percent as vendors fought for market share, offering low-price solutions.

In Taiwan, Epson foresaw inkjet printer shipments reaching 400,000, while laser printer shipments will reach 180,000 in 2015. The Chinese market will undergo slight growth but overall the market will shrink. The Recycler recently reported on the prediction that the global print market would be worth $1 trillion (€935 billion) by 2018, made by patent specialist Scott J. Cooper.

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Sensient launches new sublimation ink range

March 24, 2015

The ink manufacturer has released the ElvaJet Swift inks for Epson DX printheads.Flags_printing-onMitex3200-with-Elvajet-Inks-7af1ff09202a5617520502e35d075398

The ElvaJet Swift range is said by the company to be a “game-changing” range of digital sublimation inks for Epson DX printheads, as well as the “first industrial sublimation inkjet ink series to address all the challenges faced by printers”. The inks will be used for printing on garments, textiles for indoor use, and flags and banners, and have reportedly “raised the bar in performance”.

Sensient noted that the inks have so far exhibited “outstanding performance”, and are “unrivalled in quality and performance”. The range of inks has a high dye concentration, which allows for an average coverage saving of 40 percent, that “significantly reduces the stress on the transfer paper”. This means that “no cockling arises” on thin paper, while drying is very fast and transfer “requires less energy”.

The company also claimed that the inks will offer “substantial cost and time savings” as well as “outstanding printability on virtually any printer equipped with Epson DX printheads”. Other features include quick open time and immediate start after pausing printing, lower consumption and “superior” strength of colour, and eco-sustainability.

Sensient commented: “Our new [range] is the proven promise of achieving intense, bright colours without compromising on productivity or time. These exceptional results can be easily obtained when producing sportswear, fashion, interior design, flags and banners.”

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Epson aims to focus on Indochina market

March 11, 2015

TThailandhe OEM’s Thai subsidiary is looking to target the Indochina region as one single market.

The Nation reported on Epson Thailand’s aim, through “three strategies” to “maintain revenue growth” in 2015 through “borderless distribution of its products and services to every part of Indochina as a single market”. The strategies – high-value products, borderless distribution and promoting the brand – will be aimed at the markets in Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Pakistan.

All those markets “have been growing at a satisfactory rate”, with revenue growth of 25 percent, and Vietnam has achieved the “most impressive” growth, and Epson’s 25th year in the Thai market will see the first strategy undertaken through offering MFPs, projectors and inkjet printers to “support customers’ demand for low running costs and durability”.

The Thai market contributes 83 percent of revenue, while of the rest, Vietnam accounts for 54 percent, Myanmar 22 percent, Pakistan 10 percent, Cambodia nine percent and Laos with five percent, while “outside Thailand”, the Vietnamese market “promises the highest potential for growth”.

The second strategy will see the OEM utilise Thailand due to its position as the “hub of Indochina”, while the third will see the OEM “attempt to deepen stakeholders’ confidence in the business”. Revenue for the region will see 17 percent growth for the 2014 financial year, and “key factors” driving the business’ growth include “the return of political stability” and “rebounding investments by both the government and private sectors” alongside medium and large businesses.

Yunyong Muneemongkoltorn, General Manager of Epson Thailand, stated: “New products will be highlighted this year, such as inkjet printers targeting the mid-to-high-end market, printers for businesses, high-speed label printers, high-end projectors and commercial printers. Designed to deliver printing jobs for businesses, such printers come with long-lasting and special inks for solid-quality work.

“Epson Thailand seeks to turn all of the markets under its supervision into a single big market. Thailand has the potential to serve as the distribution hub in the region. From Thailand, Epson products can be conveniently delivered to all overseas markets under the firm’s supervision. These three strategies will play a key role in driving Epson’s business ahead, not just in Thailand but also in the region. For 2015, we set a goal of pursuing 15-per-cent growth. The firm will also expand our business into textiles and upcountry markets.”

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Epson launches three new business inkjets

March 6, 2015

The OEM has released the WorkForce devices for the SOHO and office markets.

Epson's WorkForce WF-2651

Epson’s WorkForce WF-2651

Network Asia reported on the release of the new printers, which include the WF-2651, 2661 and 2631, with the OEM stating that the devices are “purpose-built” for the SOHO and office markets to “save business’s desktop space and lower their printing costs” through “a host of convenience-enhancing features”.

The “ultra-compact” printers include an automatic document feeder with a 30-sheet capacity, Epson Connect features for mobile printing – including iPrint for mobile printing, email print and remote print – “flexible shared printing” through wireless connectivity, and Wi-Fi Direct functionality for connecting up to four devices “without the need for a router”.

Each printer can also access Apple’s AirPrint and Google’s Cloud Print, and has an LCD screen, while the 2651 and 2661 have Epson’s PrecisionCore printhead technology for “versatile, high-speed” prints at 33ppm. The 2631 has a print resolution of 5,760dpi and a print speed of 34ppm and a “small footprint”, while the 2661 has NFC (near-field communication) functionality, making it the “first [Epson device] to offer this functionality”, and all three utilise the OEM’s DURABrite Ultra pigment inks, which offer “high quality prints that are smudge, fade and water resistant”.

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Richeng begins settlement process with Epson

February 6, 2015

528ed378258e8-200x136Companies exchange letters regarding patent infringement case, with Richeng outlining its intentions to cease the sale of infringing products.

Following Richeng’s formal letter of apology sent to Epson in January regarding the USITC 337 case, the companies have exchanged further correspondence that sees Richeng confirm that it will no longer sell “any patent infringement Epson products to US warehouse[s] or US customer[s]”, with the Chinese company again apologising “about what happened” and stating that it will strive to “avoid such [a] problem happen[ing] again”.

Following Richeng’s “Letter of Promise”, Alf Andersen, Assistant General Counsel at Epson America Inc. sent a letter in reply (view this here) thanking the company for its “thoughtful letter regarding the intentions of Zhuhai Richeng Development Co. Ltd. to avoid infringing Epson’s cartridge patents”, adding that the OEM “appreciate[s] and welcome[s] your good intentions”.

His letter then goes on to provide information to assist Richeng’s “efforts to prevent further unfair competition”, highlighting that “US patent law prohibits both direct sales of infringing cartridges in the US, where you indicate that you have a warehouse, and sales and shipments of infringing cartridges to the customers in the US. Our experience is that many cartridge manufacturers have ceased direct sales of infringing products in the US, but still accept prepaid orders for infringing cartridges for shipment to the US”.

The letter continues: “Please note that Epson’s cartridge patents have been extensively enforced in the US during the past 20 years,” with a past ITC action filed by the OEM in 2006 resulting in “a well known General Exclusion Order that prohibits imports of a wide range of cartridges for Epson consumer inkjet printers, including any infringing cartridges that Richeng many have shipped from China after 2007 to your US warehouse or directly to US customers”.

Andersen goes on to recommend Richeng to “seek legal counsel regarding these patent issues if you intend to continue exports of cartridges for Epson inkjet printers to the US and to assist you in deciding whether to oppose Epson’s ITC complaint, negotiate a settlement or simply default by not responding to the complaint”, adding that “whatever decisions you make regarding your complaint, we respect your intentions to compete fairly”.

The letter ends: “We realise the public apology was an important decision for Richeng and we appreciate your thoughtful letter.”

In response to this letter, Richeng sent a letter of reply to Andersen (view this here) thanking him for the information and outlining the company’s “decision and action” regarding the case. This includes that Richeng “will not fight with Epson, in contrast we respect and treat Epson as a model”; that Richeng “deeply understand[s] the serious[ness] of the patent issue” and “the public apology is the first action”, with the company also holding “a meeting to let all staff realise the importan[ce] of this issue and the company announcement already passed to every department, including our US colleagues”; and that “to ensure this will not be a repeat occurrence, [Richeng] promise[s] [to] stop selling any patent infringement Epson products to US warehouse[s] or US customer[s]”.

The letter concludes with a further apology to Epson and Richeng stating: “We do hope this letter will help us to reach an accommodation.”

The 337 case was filed in December against 19 aftermarket companies over the infringement of one to five of its inkjet cartridge patents, specifically in terms of chips on “on-carriage cartridges” from a previous GEO.

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Epson partners with Print Audit

February 4, 2015

Epson WorkForce Pro printer

Epson WorkForce Pro printer

OEM expands MPS portfolio through partnership, which will be applied to WorkForce Pro commercial printers.

Epson America, Inc. announced its partnership with device and print management solutions provider Print Audit, with the certification of Print Audit applying to Epson’s entire line of WorkForce Pro commercial printers.

As a result of the partnership, IT network professionals will be able to utilise Print Audit tools designed to automate supplies and services management, allowing for “increased profitability” and “a more streamlined approach to data management”.

Both companies will be able to offer customers and resellers MPS support services that will result in “simplified data collection for printing costs and activities”; with the benefits including “automation for supplies and service management, increased profitability and alert systems for increased control”.

The WorkForce Pro printers are certified with Print Audit’s Facilities Manager platform, described as “an easy to use tool designed to remotely collect meter reads, automate supplies fulfilment and report service information for managing fleets of printers, copiers, fax machines, and multi-function devices”. The platform will enable resellers and IT professionals to maximise productivity by being able to account for “Every facet of printing costs”.

Commenting on the partnership, Larry Trevarthen, Director, Business Imaging at Epson America, Inc., said: “With an increasing number of companies turning to MPS solutions to manage costs and increase productivity, Epson continues to broaden its business printing solutions portfolio to meet our customers’ evolving needs. Print Audit’s print management software coupled with Epson’s WorkForce Pro business printers provides resellers with a productive and cost-efficient printing solution for the workplace.”

West McDonald, Vice President of Business Development at Print Audit, said: “Print Audit is dedicated to providing customers with a streamlined yet robust MPS solution, and certification with Epson WorkForce Pro printers underscores that commitment. Epson’s innovative business printers deliver reliable and professional results, and this partnership allows resellers to provide an enhanced level of service through a cost efficient platform.”

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Epson ink tank printers drive revenue growth

February 2, 2015

Epson ink tanksOEM’s third quarter results indicate increased shipments of printers with refillable ink tanks, driving nine percent boost in revenue.

Wirth Consulting reported on Epson’s third quarter results, which saw the OEM increase its revenue by nine percent and raise its total income by 71.9 compared to the same quarter in 2013.

In the first nine months of the fiscal year, Epson’s revenue grew 7.9 percent to ¥14.8 billion ($125.8 million/€110.9 million), while business profit rose 11.6 percent year-on-year to ¥85.4 billion ($726 million/€640 million). Profit from operating activities reached ¥110.6 billion ($940.5 million/€828.6 million) – an increase of 56.9 percent year-on-year; while overall profit for the period reached ¥90.6 billion ($770.6 million/€679.3 million).

Much of the growth was attributed to a strong performance in the company’s inkjet printer business, where revenue grew during the quarter due to increased shipments in Epson’s inkjet printers that use “refillable, high-capacity ink tanks” as well as “higher average selling prices”. This offset the decline in shipments of Epson’s inkjet printers using ink cartridges; and consumables revenue also rose due to “improvement in the composition of Epson’s inkjet printer installed base”.

Large-format printers also saw an increase in revenue due to “sales growth in Asia” and “foreign exchange effects”; while page-printer revenue fell as consumables volume declined.

Epson revised its full-year forecast, increasing its full-year revenue to ¥1,008.4 billion ($8.6 billion/€7.6 billion) – an increase of 2.8 percent compared to its previous forecast. However, the company decreased its profit forecast from ¥111 billion ($944 million/€832 million) to ¥84.4 billion ($717.8 million/€632.8 million).

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USITC confirms Epson investigation

January 28, 2015

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) will undertake the investigation for the OEM against a number of aftermarket companies concerning patent infringement.USITC logo

The USITC reported in a notice filed on 21 January that it would be undertaking an investigation on behalf of Epson, with the OEM reporting in December 2014 that it would be seeking a General Exclusion Order (GEO) against 19 aftermarket companies over the infringement of one to five of its inkjet cartridge patents, specifically in terms of chips on “on-carriage cartridges” from a previous GEO.

The action was said by the OEM to “protect against unfair competition”, and seeks to block “all imports of ink cartridges that infringe Epson’s ink cartridge patents” from 19 companies it claims “manufacture, import or distribute” the infringing cartridges. The complaint “requests the ITC to issue a General Exclusion Order prohibiting these companies and all others from importing the infringing cartridges into the United States”.

The OEM added that it previously obtained a GEO in an action in 2006 “that is still enforced” concerning a “broad range of on-carriage cartridges” for both consumer and business inkjet machines. In terms of the US patents named in the action, these include: 8,366,233; 8,454,116; 8,794,749; 8,801,163 and 8,882,513.

The announcement last week from the USITC notes that it will undertake a section 337 investigation, which will see the USITC “institute an investigation” and afterwards “issue a general exclusion order” as well as “cease and desist orders”. The USITC added that the investigation would “determine whether there is a violation” of the patents Epson claims have been infringed, and noted that defendants needed to respond to the allegations within 20 days of 21 January.

Failure to respond to the claims, it adds, “may be deemed to constitute a waiver of the right to appear and contest the allegations”, as well as to “authorise the administrative law judge” and the USITC itself to “find the facts to be as alleged in the complaint”, with those companies that do not contest nor respond to the allegations found guilty in their absence and subject to the GEO if passed.

The cartridges at the centre of the case are “installed immediately behind the printhead of inkjet printers”, and the case concerns alleged infringement of five further patents that “relate to the functionality of IC chips on many of the same on-carriage cartridges” covered in the previous GEO in 2006. Epson adds that the new case also concerns “many off-carriage cartridges for current Epson business and professional large-format inkjet printers”, with off-carriage cartridges “larger capacity cartridges installed to the side of the printer cartridge and connected to the printhead with ink supply tubes”.

Among the companies named in the case was Zhuhai Richeng Development Co. Ltd., who responded to the case by apologising to Epson earlier this month. Richeng stated that it was sorry for “the inconvenience”, and “will never let this issue happen again”. You can view the letter of apology here.

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Epson launches RIPS machines in the USA

January 22, 2015

The machines released include three new devices, including two MFPs and one single-function printer.epsonrips

The OEM, which previously announced the technology alongside devices including the WorkForce Pro WF-R5690DWF and WF-5190DW in March last year, has released three machines utilising the replaceable ink pack system (RIPS) in the US market, adding that the machines “enabl[e] hassle-free business printing” as well as “exceptional” return-on-investment (ROI) with “uncompromised print quality”.

The WF-R5690 and WF-5190 are included in this range (not as DWF or DW machines) alongside the WorkForce Pro WF-R8590 printer, with each of the three devices said by Epson to be able to deliver up to 75,000 black and colour pages “before the ink needs to be replaced”, allowing users to “print high-impact colour documents with low operating costs and intervention rates”. The WF-R8590 and WF-R5690 are MFPs, while the WF-R5190 is a single-function machine.

The WF-R8590 in turn is Epson’s “fastest business colour printing solution” with speeds of 24 ISO ppm in black and colour alongside a 1,830-sheet capacity and A3 media support, while the WF-R5690 and WF-R5190 can reach speeds of 20 ISO ppm in black and colour and feature a 580-sheet capacity, with a slightly lower yield of 50,000 pages before replacement ink is needed.

Other features of the printers include USB, Ethernet and wireless connectivity, compatibility with Epson’s Wi-Fi Direct mobile printing application, remote and cloud printing, and “support for popular security protocols” as well as “remote setup and custom settings”.

Larry Trevarthen, Epson America’s Director of Business Imaging, commented: “Epson’s revolutionary approach transforms office printing by allowing businesses to focus on running their business, not on managing printer supplies. Epson’s new printing solutions allow IT managers to bring affordable colour printing to remote offices and workgroups while reducing the hassles normally associated with printer management.”

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Richeng apologises to Epson over IP case

January 12, 2015

528ed378258e8The Chinese company wrote a formal letter of apology for “the inconvenience” after being named in the recent infringement case, noting that it “will never let this issue happen again”.

The letter, which you can view here, is from General Manager Li Pin and is addressed to Seiko Epson Corporation, Epson America Inc. and Epson Portland Inc., and implores the companies to “accept this letter as our formal letter of apology for the inconvenience” that the USITC (United States International Trade Commission) 337 case “has caused you”.

The case was announced late last year, naming 19 defendants including Richeng at the USITC in order to seek a General Exclusion Order (GEO) over the infringement of one to five inkjet cartridge patents, specifically in terms of chips on “on-carriage cartridges” from a previous GEO. The action was said to “protect against unfair competition”, and seeks to block “all imports of ink cartridges that infringe Epson’s ink cartridge patents”, with a previous GEO in 2006 “still enforced” concerning a “broad range of on-carriage cartridges” for consumer and business inkjet machines also relevant.

The cartridges are “installed immediately behind the printhead of inkjet printers”, and the case concerns infringement of five patents that “relate to the functionality of IC chips on many of the same on-carriage cartridges” covered in the previous GEO. The new case also concerns “many off-carriage cartridges for current Epson business and professional large-format inkjet printers”, with off-carriage cartridges “larger capacity cartridges installed to the side of the printer cartridge and connected to the printhead with ink supply tubes”. In terms of the US patents named in the action, these include: 8,366,233; 8,454,116; 8,794,749; 8,801,163 and 8,882,513.

Richeng’s letter continues by noting that “we here at Zhuhai Richeng Development Co., Ltd. assure you that this issue is not a common problem”, and that the company discovered “through our internal review process” that the reason it was named in the case “was due to the fact that all of our product was stocked in our US warehouse many years ago, at which time we did not realise it would cause the patent problem”

Richeng’s letter goes on to state that the company “deeply understand[s] the seriousness of the situation we are in, and will never let this issue happen again”, noting that to “ensure that this will not be a repeat occurrence” it will “set up a class to improve our patent knowledge and hold a meeting to [ensure] all of our staff realise the seriousness of the patent problem”

Richeng states that it is “so sorry about what happened, we did not realise our behaviour would violate your company[‘s patents]”, and that over the “next few months we will work to prevent this from happening again”, commenting that it has a “great appreciation” for Epson “as a global imaging and innovation leader […] Richeng has always respected Epson and will continue to treat Epson as our idol”.

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