updated 8/2/2005 12:41:02 PM ET 2005-08-02T16:41:02

A company that specializes in anti-counterfeiting technology claims Europe's common currency infringes on a patent obtained from a New York inventor's family.

Document Security Systems Inc. said in a lawsuit filed Monday in Luxembourg that all 30 billion euro bank notes in circulation infringe on a patent it acquired this year that was issued by the European Patent Office in 1999. It is seeking unspecified royalties from the European Central Bank in Frankfurt, Germany.

The patent covers a method of incorporating an anti-counterfeiting feature into bank notes or similar security documents to protect against forgeries by digital scanning and copying devices, the company said.

"The euro is not the only currency utilizing our technologies without authorization," said the company's chief executive, Patrick White. "We believe there are a significant number of other currencies and also traveler's checks that contain our patented technologies on an unlicensed basis."

"We plan on addressing each and every instance in order to derive the maximum benefit from our intellectual properties on behalf" of shareholders, White said.

The European Court of First Instance in Luxembourg deals with claims against institutions such as the European Central Bank.

A spokeswoman for the European Central Bank, Regina Schueller, said the bank was "aware of this public statement by Document Security Systems Inc. and has at this time no further comment."

The patent was issued by the European Patent Office to the estate of the late Ralph Wicker, whose family business devised ways to protect against counterfeiting of currencies, checks and other documents, White said. Wicker died in 1997, and all his patents were bought out by Document Security Systems earlier this year.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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