The gasps of Book Distributors, Book Buyers, Bookstores, Publishers, and Authors, can be heard exclaiming, 'Are we suppose to take this lying down!'
It is not likely, the publishing world has far too much to lose. The new Print-On-Demand technology, which holds the potential to revolutionize the book publishing industry by eliminating book remainders, wasted paper resources, ink, and electricity to operate the modern technology for the 21st Century, has needed to withstand yet another vicious blow.
Last week, a St. Louis, Missouri, Federal jury brought down the judgment on Ingram's Lightning Source Inc. Print-On-Demand publication that it is to be held accountable to the sum of $15 Million, for Patent Infringement on the Harvey Ross On-Demand digital process for storing data to fully produce a single book at a time.
Why did this finding occur in the first place?... Was it because the inventor failed to place an immediate patent on the On-Demand Process in 1990, detailing the technology for electronically storing data to deliver a fully automated digital text, color cover, bound and cut book at the point of sale to the consumer? ... A Kiosk, or a bookstore outlet, where the consumer or attendant could feed in information to fulfill a book order with maximum efficiency, in the time it takes to order a cup coffee and drink it.
At the time of development of this technology, 1990 Harvey Ross failed to register a patent at the USPTO, instead, approaching Xerox to present the On-Demand technology for consideration. Xerox submitted, it would take $2.2M to produce the On-Demand digital prototype, therefore a partnership was never forthcoming.
It would be three years later, July 12th 1993, before Harvey Ross Legally acquired a registered patent for the On-Demand technology.
By 1993 Print Technology was picking up speed and the $$$ signs were beginning to roll over in scrutinizing eyes. Meanwhile, the Publishing Industry had gained wind of the new On-Demand Process and companies were beginning to develop their own plans for the introduction of POD publication.
In the mid 1990s Harvey Ross approached Ingram's Distribution, the number one book distributor in the US & UK, to present the concept of this digital process. Ingram's were not interested.
Harvey Ross then revisited the USPTO patent office in 1997 to make sure crucial components of the digital On-Demand data process were covered. By now the shining beacon light of modern technology was sweeping all ships towards the horizons of the 21st Century. But, it was too late, the Publishing Industry already had the technology from existing machinery to deliver a single copy of a book on request.
Harvey Ross' registered patent for the digital process was dated by the USPTO as: July 12th, 1993. The patent detailed:
System and Method of Manufacturing A Single Book Copy.
Abstract: "Quote" from the Registered On-Demand Patent:
"A computer based book manufacturing, distributing and retailing system for the high speed reproduction of a single copy of a book is disclosed. The system is especially adapted for direct consumer sales since the manufacture of a selected book can take place at the point of sale. A master module includes a computer having a database of books to be selected, the books preferably being stored in a digital book description format. Upon selection of a particular book from the database, a single copy of the book (including the text and a color cover) is printed by means of high speed raster printing engines. The system includes a binder for binding the text pages, and the cover into a book"
By 2001 the writing was on the wall, and Harvey Ross filed a Patent Infringement lawsuit against Ingram's Lightning Source Print-On-Demand. Three months later he was to die.
By the time evidence was heard in the St Louis courtroom, it was reported, Lightning Source Inc. Print-On-Demand had produced over ten million books.
POD technology had proved its efficiency. It was the seed that grew swiftly. It was an environmentally friendly means of publication, emerging from the development of new technology for the printing industry, which, by this time, had long since been capable of printing text, binding and cutting, and printing color images. POD technology was gathering speed. It was a means for breathing new life into Major Publishers' best selling "out-of-print" books. POD, as it became known, was proving to be the 'Kiss of Life' for best-selling authors' novels, which could now make a resurgence through the development of modern technology.
A New and Exciting age for the Publishing Industry had arrived.
$15 million was awarded through Patent Infringement litigation, but the full extent of the verdict was yet to unfold. A judgment, that may not have been foreseen by the vast majority of industry people watching the On-Demand case unfold, was yet be handed down. A further finding in the coming weeks will deem if production will be halted on Ingram's Lightning Source POD publication.
Shock waves wash through the Publishing Industry. Lightning Source, Inc. offered this statement to the verdict... We will be appealing.
Legally Binding Print-On-Demand contracts are likely to be cast to the wings of litigation lawyers, who will find themselves defending the rights of Book Distributors, Book Buyers, Bookstores, Publishers and Authors who stand the chance of losing untold income if this finding is handed down on the Publishing Industry... New technology paving the way into the future will suffer an enormous set-back in the wake.
The repercussions from the Patent Infringement judgment hold the potential to destroy small Publishers - Rock the foundations of large publishers - Leave Book Distributors wondering if they will be next in line for litigation suits - Shatter contracts and the dreams of Authors, while the finding snatches up Book Buyers in a sweeping tide to possibly halt any contemplation of ordering POD books in the future. It would see Bookstores all over America taking inventory of books, only to remove Print-On-Demand trade paperbacks from shelves with the insecurity of wondering if bookstore owners will also be libel.
The sweeping tide of Print-On-Demand technology has picked up far too much pace to ever be halted, but there is likely to be major casualties over the Patent Infringement judgment if Ingram's Lightning Source Print-On-Demand is halted in the coming weeks.
An 'Invention' is not legally covered by a patent until such time as it has been registered at the USPTO Patents Office, by the inventor. It is difficult to comprehend that the inventors of evolving print technology would not have foreseen the potential for digitally storing data as complete files, which when activated, would produce a single book on demand.
The Print-On-Demand technology will be set back ten years, unless a ruling returns with due consideration to the wake these waves will cause if POD production is halted.
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