April 14--Ferro Corporation of Cleveland, TherMark LLC of Los Angeles, and CerLase of Limoges, France, have settled a long-standing dispute over the use of patented laser marking technology for ceramics, glass, and metals.
In addition to settling their legal claims, the firms completed a cross-licensing agreement that allows all three parties to practice and promote laser marking technology under the applicable patents.
TherMark and Ferro had previously reached an accord with a license agreement in 2004 and this agreement includes CerLase, which also held intellectual property in laser marking technology. Several years ago all three companies developed materials and processes that enhance or enable lasers to make high-contrast permanent marks on a variety of surfaces.
The new agreement gives Ferro, TherMark, and CerLase the ability to market each others' products, processes, and equipment, without triggering issues concerning patent infringement. Ferro will be the sole and exclusive supplier of TherMark and CerLase materials to worldwide markets, except for certain limited pre-existing licensing agreements. TherMark continues as an authorized distributor of Ferro laser marking materials.
At the signing ceremony in Limoges, Phil Maitland, Ferro Glass Systems global marketing and business development manager, said "We believe this is great news for the laser marking industry and will enable us to help develop the market more rapidly to reach its full potential.
"With the intellectual property issues finally resolved, we can all concentrate our resources on delivering the integrated solutions that a vast range of customers are demanding for marking and decotating their products."
Paul Harrison, chairman of TherMark, and Arnaud Hory, managing director of CerLase, added, "We are delighted with this cross-licensing agreement relating to our respetive technologies and to have strengthened our relationship with Ferro. The industrial laser marking market has enormous untapped potential and this agreement removes any remaining uncertainties or concerns that the market may have had about dealing with any of us for risk of litigation over patent infringement."