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 user 2007-02-06 at 10:32:00 am Views: 83
  • #17642

    Court orders Canon to pay ex-worker compensation for laser printer technology
    2007 TOKYO — A court has ordered Canon to compensate a former employee
    for laser printer technology he developed, the latest in a spate of
    legal battles that pit inventors against big-name Japanese companies.In
    the ruling in Tokyo District Court by presiding judge Ryuichi sh*tara,
    Canon was ordered to pay Kazuo Minoura, the engineer, 33.5 million yen,
    or $275,000, as his due for profits that his work earned Canon, a court
    official said on condition of anonymity.

    Canon Inc. said it will likely appeal.
    have consistently asserted that all payment has been completed,” the
    company said in a statement. “We are working toward an appeal as the
    ruling is fundamentally incompatible with our view, and the amount is
    also totally unacceptable.”Mr. Minoura filed the lawsuit in 2003,
    demanding 1 billion yen, or $8.2 million, in compensation for his role
    in developing the technology, which enables laser printers to produce
    high-quality images. The lawsuit said the technology earned Canon
    hundreds of millions of dollars.”I’m so disappointed the amount was so
    low,” Mr. Minoura said on nationally televised news.According to the
    lawsuit, Mr. Minoura, 61, who worked at Tokyo-based Canon from 1968 to
    2002, was paid 850,000 yen ($7,000) by the company for his
    breakthrough.The lawsuit highlights the growing conflict over
    intellectual property between workers and companies in Japan, where a
    culture of corporate loyalty tends to demand big sacrifices from
    workers. The workers are sometimes not sufficiently rewarded or
    recognized for their contributions to the company’s overall
    performance.It is still rare for Japanese companies to spell out how
    individual employees might benefit from patent royalty payments.Last
    year, in a landmark ruling supporting inventor rights, Japan’s Supreme
    Court ordered Hitachi Ltd. to pay 163 million yen, or about $1.3
    million, to Seiji Yonezawa, who invented technology for reading compact
    discs and digital video discs while working for the electronics
    maker.Mr. Yonezawa’s attorneys say Hitachi paid him a bonus of 118,000
    yen, or about $1,000, for one of three patents he filed in the 1970s
    for technology to read CDs and DVDs.In 2001, Shuji Nakamura, a
    professor at University of California, Santa Barbara, became one of the
    first Japanese scientists to take his case to court for a highly
    lucrative technology.He said his former employer, Nichia Corp., paid
    him a token bonus of 20,000 yen — just $160 — for his work developing
    the blue LED, or light-emitting diode, widely used in lighting for
    traffic signals and cell phones. Mr. Nakamura agreed in 2005 to an 840
    million yen, or $6.9 million, settlement with Nichia.

    When Canon phased out a printer model
    income from heaven is soon followed by a militant employee from hell.
    Watch out! If you call yourself a liberal manager trying to empower
    people to do creative thinking, you need to learn from one important
    legal case that happened to Canon recently.
    feb  2007 said that a
    Tokyo court has ordered Canon to pay 33.52 million yen (about P15
    million) to a former employee who invented technology to help run its
    laser printers. In a suit over the patented technology of the computer
    printer and camera giant, Kazuo Minoura, 61, demanded that Canon pay
    him one billion yen (P500 million) for inventing the
    technology.Minoura, who worked at Canon from 1968 through 2002, claims
    he invented the technology while working as a researcher for the
    company and is now claiming one billion yen for his efforts.Canon
    expressed disgust with the ruling and said it will consider filing an
    appeal as it claimed that it already paid 850,000 yen (P400,000) for
    Minoura’s contribution in accordance with the prevailing company rules
    at the time.The issue is laser technology and the right of Minoura to
    be paid the right amount of cash reward. So what’s the right amount? We
    have to stop here and leave it to the court. Let the judicial
    proceedings continue . . .Now what? I’ll say that Minoura’s invention
    appears to have contributed to Canon brand’s popularity in the market,
    like a classic example of “breakpoint.” Incidentally, “breakpoint” came
    out of Henry Johansson’s Business Process Reengineering: Breakpoint
    Strategies for Market Dominance (Wiley 1993) that talks about an
    innovation or radical departure from marketplace expectation that
    creates unrealized opportunities to seize market share.That’s what
    Canon appears to be headed with or without this legal battle.While they
    prepare for a lengthy legal battle, we the consumers may have to ignore
    Canon’s original but pricey ink cartridges, by going to Ink for Less,
    if not choose a lower-priced replacement very much like what everybody
    is doing against Hewlett-Packard, Epson, and what have you.Why not?
    Take the Canon printer model Pixma iP1000 that I bought in January 2006
    for P1,995 from one retail establishment trying to undercut Abenson
    that sells it for P2,400. I told you, it pays to do a canvass. And it’s
    good for your body too when you do a kilometer brisk walk in and out of
    a shopping mall.There’s truth to what manufacturers can do against
    consumers. They will give you a printer model that’s practically free
    of charge but you can’t use unless you buy their pricey ink cartridges.
    That’s the scary part.Look, the original Canon BCI-24 black ink
    cartridge sells for P400 while the color cartridge is at P665. And they
    last only for about less than 73 and 1/3 pages of standard bond paper,
    including smeared ones.Because of the prohibitive cost, I’ve been using
    replacement ink cartridges at P90 for black and P110 for color from
    Compex until I found a much better alternative from CD-R-King—that
    generic ink re-filling kit suitable for a fourth grader who can do the
    refilling himself, like a toddler mixing his own milk formula.CD-R-King
    sells a replacement for 30ml bottle of black ink at P35 while the color
    base (cyan, yellow, and magenta) is pegged at P95. What a steal, isn’t?
    Or is it?So what happens to the original Canon printer if you’re using
    a “fake” ink cartridge? Would the “replacement” ink hasten the demise
    of your printer, if not double the repair cost, if anything like it
    happens?Never mind. If the unit breaks down, it’s still cost-effective
    in the long run. I told to myself—this is a wonderful product that was
    created by Canon, and of course by Minoura. If I have the money, I’ll
    stock up for at least two units to last me for four years, two months,
    and six days.Unfortunately, Canon has phased out iPixma 1000 and
    replaced it with a sleek model 1200 and 1300 unit for almost the same
    price at P2,200 but the ink cartridge is much higher at P995 for black
    while the color ink at P1,150 and I guess you cannot go on print a
    40-page mark without replacing that miniature cartridge that probably
    contains not more than 5ml of ink. Further, the trouble is—you cannot
    tamper with it or else you’ll end up breaking the cartridge.To make
    matters worse, there are no replacement cartridges for these yet, at
    least not at the moment. Now I know why in this part of the world, the
    product that we like is the only one not on sale. It’s like a
    terrifying scene from the movie Jurassic Pixma.