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Silverbrook returns Kaiser hardball play

Thursday, 22 March 2012
By Print21

Australian company, Silverbrook Research, has responded angrily to a lawsuit lodged last week by US non-profit, George Kaiser Family Foundation, accusing the Memjet founder, Kia Silverbrook and his company of false representations and false promises.

The lawsuit papers, which were unexpectedly released last week, accuse Silverbrook, his partner Jannette Faye Lee and their company, Silverbrook Research, of omissions, false representations and false promises made during the multi-million dollar investment period, of which the US-based foundation invested US$50 million (A$47.2m) in 2004 to help develop and commercialise the groundbreaking inkjet technology.

According to the documents, which were lodged in a US District Court in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when Memjet had not made it to market by 2009 following the charity’s initial investment, it invested a further $US150 million (A$141.5m) on the requested condition that Silverbrook and Lee step down from their leadership positions within the company.

The Australian research and development company says the Kaiser lawsuit allegations are “entirely baseless and inaccurate, and will be defended vigorously by Silverbrook.”

The company issued a release through its PR company on 22 March, indicating that the lawsuit is merely an attempt by the Kaiser foundation to wrest control over the Memjet technology by playing ‘hardball’.

The release says that:
“The lawsuit is part of a hardball commercial negotiation by GKFF over the ownership and control of the intellectual property surrounding the groundbreaking Memjet printing technology, which has been invented and patented by Silverbrook over the last decade.

Silverbrook strongly rejects GKFF’s aggressive and misjudged tactics as being inappropriate and unnecessary, especially as GKFF is the major and controlling shareholder in Memjet…

Over the last eight years Mr Kaiser and various entities under his control have continuously funded and supported the Silverbrook’s development of Memjet – a revolutionary printing technology which can be used to replace the existing technologies used in a wide range of applications in the $300 billion worldwide printing market.

It is a mystery to Silverbrook – apart from being a negotiating tactic for control of the Memjet technology – why GKFF would make wildly inaccurate claims at this time.”

The lawsuit has been filed as more and more Memjet licences in markets around the world have been sold to printer developers and manufacturers. Nick Mansell, the CEO of Sydney-based Memjet press manufacturer, Rapid Label Systems, says the Memjet technology has met with enormous success in the marketplace.

In fact, he says that one US-based printer he knows of is putting through over 100,000 feet (30,480 metres) of printed media per week through its Memjet press, an impressive rate for an inkjet-based system.

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