I first covered Memjet back in 2007, when Sydney-based Silverbrook Research unveiled a decade-long project: revolutionary inkjet speeds thanks to a single pass page-width printhead. And it wasn’t a hoax after all: working prototypes spitting out 60ppm were shown at CES 2009, and again in recent years. But now – just weeks before Memjet is set to appear at the world’s largest printing show – Silverbrook has entered a bitter court battle with its principal US investor and placed 200 local engineers on leave.
That investor is the Family Foundation of George Kaiser, the 34th richest man in America. Though he’s not part of the current lawsuit alleging fraud and misrepresentation, he has personally invested $US610 million in Memjet development. In response, a Silverbrook Research spokesman told Fairfax that the claims are “widely inaccurate” and part of a hardball move for control of the intellectual property.
Silverbook Research has more than 4,400 approved US patents, but Aussie founder Kia Silverbrook says that the US-based Memjet companies setup to commercialise the technology have failed and it’s time to sell. Evaluations suggest a price between $1.5 and $3 billion based on how disruptive the technology could still prove to be. Who would have thought printing would ever get interesting again? [Brisbane Times]