Alleges unfair competition and misuse of patent
On July 10, dye-sub-ink pioneer Sawgrass Systems of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina announced that they had filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Tropical Graphics, the Florida-based integrator of digital-printing systems using dye-sublimation inks. The Sawgrass suit seeks a permanent injunction barring Tropical Graphics, their distributor EIC Research, and all others acting in concert with them from selling the dye-sub inks that Sawgrass claims infringe on their patented innovations for sublimation inks for inkjet printers.
On July 25, Tropical Graphics announced the filing of a multi-million dollar counter suit against Sawgrass Systems. Tropical Graphics alleges that Sawgrass Systems has engaged in unfair competition through deliberate and systematic misuse of their patent to restrain and harm the legal business opportunities of Tropical Graphics by threats, intimidation and misinformation.
Tropical Graphics has also asserted claims against Sawgrass for tortuous interference with its potential and existing customers. Paul Hirst, President of Tropical Graphics said "For years now we have witnessed Sawgrass Systems deliberate attempts to harm the growth of Tropical Graphics and stop competitors in the marketplace from exercising their legal rights to market and distribute non-infringing dyes. We now intend to bring this matter before a jury and once and for all stop this manipulation of the US patent system. We will be seeking the appropriate damages and a permanent injunction to prevent Sawgrass Systems from approaching our customers." (Tropical Graphics: www.tropicalgraphics.com)