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Feb 1, 2023

i4F and its partners settle all pending and threatened digital printing and digital embossing patent disputes

  • Agreement includes all relevant patents covering direct-on-board digital printing and digital embossing technologies
  • Licensees of i4F’s Digital Printing Technologies cluster, which includes, patents of i4F, Hymmen, Classen and Kronospan, will now be free to operate under Unilin, Barberán and Zeetree patents

HAMONT, BELGIUM – i4F®, a group of companies providing patents and technologies to the flooring industry, today announced that it has entered into a settlement agreement with different parties concerning digital printing and digital embossing technologies.  The agreement, covers all relevant direct-on-board digital printing and digital embossing patents from i4F, Hymmen, Classen, Kronospan, Zeetree, Barberán and Unilin and is effective immediately. i4F represents and holds the licensing rights for all digital printing and digital embossing patents from Hymmen and Classen.

As a result of this agreement, all pending and threatened litigation between the various parties, relating to digital printing and digital embossing patents outlined in the agreement, in domestic courts as well as before the European Patent Office, are withdrawn. i4F’s Digital Printing Technologies cluster licensees will now benefit from an expanded freedom-to-operate through an undertaking that Unilin, Zeetree and Barberán patents will not be asserted against the manufacturing, distributing and selling of digitally printed and/or digitally embossed products. 

The scope of the digital printing settlement agreement covers decorative panels with any type of wood, mineral and/or polymer based core, including MDF, HDF, LVT, SPC, WPC, MgO, PP, PU and cork. 

i4F and Hymmen entered into a strategic patent partnership in January 2021 giving i4F licensing rights for all Hymmen’s digital printing patents and technologies for flooring production, including Hymmen’s award winning Digital Lacquer Embossing Plus (DLE+) technology. i4F continues to work in close collaboration with Hymmen to promote new digital printing opportunities in the flooring industry.

Over the past years, pending and threatened patent litigation resulted in continuous legal uncertainty, costs and commercial risks which hindered the adoption of breakthrough digital printing and digital embossing technologies in the global decorative panel industry. To end the stalemate and to accelerate market adoption of digital printing and digital embossing technologies, the various parties have agreed to settle their pending and threatened disputes. For existing and future licensees of i4F’s Digital Printing Technologies cluster, this allows them to benefit from a significantly expanded freedom-to-operate when producing and selling decorative panels with a digital décor print and/or digital embossing. This means that i4F licensees can manufacture and sell their products without the threat of a patent infringement litigation.

i4F believes this settlement facilitates the accelerated worldwide market adoption of digital printing technologies with unlimited digitally embossed-in-register décor design possibilities.

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