Patent Protection for Graphic Arts

Session details

Dr. Harvey Levenson

Watch recording




This session covers a growing nemesis that all printing companies and OEMs are vulnerable to: patent trolls, the epitome of greed, thoughtlessness, and unethical behavior impacting the survival, growth, and development of such companies.

What is a Patent Troll?

A patent troll is a company or person that purchases a patent and then sues another company claiming that its technology infringes on the patent. They attempt to enforce patent rights beyond the patent's value. They use patents as “legal weapons.” Instead of using the patent to create new products or new ideas to improve business, commerce, or society, trolls are in the business of threatening and creating litigation.

The Issue

Patent trolls are inhibiting growth and causing printing industry companies to consider closing, downsizing, and laying off employees because they cannot afford the huge fees demanded by the trolls while also growing business. Trolls are equivalent to extortionists, with no sense of business morals and ethics, or of the nation’s push to grow companies, produce jobs, and keep or bring back as much business as possible to the United States.

This Session

  • Proposes that companies threatened by trolls should not settle by paying license fees, but should partner in pooling resources to pursue invalidation of the patents in question. Such challenges are often won through the disclosure of prior art.
  • Describes the problem through case studies, and advocates that printing and related companies that face the threat of lawsuits by trolls should not settle and should not enter into a single-company litigation that can cost more than a settlement.
  • Covers what to do if approached by a troll claiming that the technology being used to do business on a daily basis is infringing upon an existing patent.


About Dr. Harvey Levenson

Dr. Harvey R. Levenson is Professor Emeritus and past Department Head of Graphic Communication and past Director of the Graphic Communication Institute at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California.

During his 30-year tenure at Cal Poly, Dr. Levenson’s teaching and research specialties were printing and publishing, technology, communication, media, digital imaging, intellectual property, and research methods. Prior to joining Cal Poly in 1983, Dr. Levenson founded and chaired the Graphics, Design, and Communication Division at La Roche College, and was Associate Director of Technical Services at the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Having authored many publications, and the recipient of many industry awards, Dr. Levenson remains active in the industry and is a frequent Expert Witness specializing in communication, intellectual property, printing, and technology.

Dr. Levenson holds four degrees in printing and communication including a Ph. D. in Rhetoric and Communication from the University of Pittsburgh, a M. S. degree in Printing Management from South Dakota State University, a B. S. degree in Printing from the Rochester Institute of Technology, and an A. A. S. degree in Graphic Arts and Advertising Technology from New York City College of Technology.