Just as September LD was hitting the streets, Martin Professional announced that it had reached a settlement with Vari-Lite Inc., thus lifting the injunction in the US market against the MAC 500, MAC 600, and MAC 300 automated luminaires.
This turn of events came only two months after the injunction, originally issued in September 1999 by the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, was upheld following an appeal by Martin. The injunction prohibited Martin and its affiliates from making, selling, leasing, or offering for sale or lease in the US (or importing into the US) the MAC 600, MAC 500, MAC 300, or the Case Series Controller in conjunction with any of these products.
Martin had appealed the injunction, claiming that Vari-Lite's patent expired in July. It was upheld when the court ruled that the patent did not expire until March 2001. A Martin press release stated, "With the recent release of a half-year financial report showing significant growth and profitability over 1999, the return of the full MAC range to the American market is expected to have a further positive impact."
In a statement, Vari-Lite chairman and CEO Rusty Brutsche said, "I am pleased that a settlement was reached outside of the courtroom and that we were able to successfully defend our intellectual property rights."
In other Martin news, in July Christie Lites (with offices in Calgary, Dallas, Orlando, Toronto, and Vancouver) signed a three-year multimillion-dollar deal to exclusively support Martin's moving lights. Uniquely for a rental company, Christie Lites will only purchase Martin automated lights for the duration of this contract.
Huntly Christie, president of Christie Lites, said in a statement, "The entertainment lighting market is now a billion-dollar business - it is our goal to develop a strong niche within the market based on real partnerships with our suppliers. Christie Lites is looking to gain the customer benefits that come with commitment, loyalty, trust, and long-term partnership. In the area of automated lights Martin was the perfect choice for us. The product line has matured nicely but still holds tremendous potential. In addition, the US management team is highly experienced and the customer service is top notch."
Added Martin CEO Troels Volver, "With Christie Lites' commitment to us, we in turn have pledged our 100% support, especially with new product development such as the recently released MAC 600NT and the new MAC 2000 series."