Fuji and Agfa bury CR patent hatchet with licensing deal for ADC reader

July 19, 1995

Agfa wins long-denied access to U.S. marketAgfa cleared the way this month to market its ADC computed radiographyreader in the U.S. by signing a worldwide patent licensing agreementwith Fuji. The deal will increase competitive pressure on

Agfa wins long-denied access to U.S. market

Agfa cleared the way this month to market its ADC computed radiographyreader in the U.S. by signing a worldwide patent licensing agreementwith Fuji. The deal will increase competitive pressure on Fuji,but the Japanese vendor hopes the entry of another player intothe field will help expand the CR market.

Agfa has been marketing CR systems in various global marketsfor years, but has been prevented from entering the U.S. by Fuji'sstrong patent position. At last year's Radiological Society ofNorth America meeting, Agfa displayed ADC 70, a CR reader thatthe Ridgefield Park, CT, company claimed had been reengineeredto avoid infringing on Fuji's patents (SCAN 2/15/95).

Fuji thought otherwise. The company's U.S. subsidiary in Stamford,CT, said it would file litigation against Agfa if it went forwardwith plans to market ADC 70 in the U.S. without first securinga patent license. This month's agreement settles that dispute.

The companies are keeping the terms of the deal under wraps.Agfa will be able to sell ADC worldwide, but neither firm disclosedwhether Agfa would make royalty payments to Fuji. There will beno product exchange between the companies and each will continueto develop its own CR product line.

Agfa plans to emphasize ADC 70's high productivity and easeof use, as well as its Musica image processing software. In addition,ADC 70 is easily linked to Agfa's Impax PACS line to bring x-rayinto a digital radiology department, according to Thomas Colucci,director of marketing communications for Agfa.

"This is the main key to the Impax image management system,"Colucci said.

For its part, Fuji believes that increased competition willultimately benefit the market, outweighing the drawbacks of anerosion in Fuji's dominant market share.

"There will be installed Agfa systems, and our marketshare will go down," said John Strauss, national marketingmanager for CR products. "However, there is competition now.There is a choice for the customers, and perhaps we're going towork a little harder that we did previously."

In other CR news, Kodak last month began shipping its newestCR reader, Ektascan Imagelink Model 400, which was also displayedat the 1994 RSNA meeting. Kodak has licensed CR image plate technologyfrom Fuji.