There was a curious rumor floating around this month suggesting that Ricoh may soon lose the right to use the Pentax brand name after the licensing agreement expires. Ricoh has now debunked that rumor.
On March 20th, Pentax Rumors published an article in which it quoted “a well-respected member of Pentax Forums with an impressive track record of inside information about soon to be launched products.” That unnamed individual stated:
Pentax ownership belongs to HOYA, the right to use belongs to Ricoh, and the lease contract expires in 2020. Maybe this is why Ricoh does not continue to develop Pentax.
The Japanese optical glass manufacturer Hoya announced back on July 1st, 2011, that it had agreed to sell its Pentax camera business to the Japanese imaging and electronics company Ricoh, reportedly for about $124 million. As part of the deal, Hoya continues to own the Pentax trademark for its medical products (e.g. endoscopes) while Ricoh uses the brand for its camera business.
Ricoh announced the K-1 Mark II DSLR back in February 2018, but things have been very quiet in the 15 or so months since then — a strangely long time when it comes to product cycles in the camera industry.
The rumor attempts to explain this by suggesting that Ricoh may not extend its rights to use the Pentax brand beyond 2020.
But not so, says Ricoh. The company has just issued a statement to DPReview refuting the rumor and affirming its commitment to Pentax camera gear.
“No, [the rumor] is not a fact,” the company tells DPReview. “Hoya is the owner of the PENTAX trademark, but there are no restrictions or limitations attached for RICOH to use the PENTAX brand in the camera business. We will continue to offer the PENTAX brand products including new items.”
Pentax has been a player in the photography industry since the early 1950s, and if you’re a fan of the brand, the good news is that it doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.
Update on 5/31/19: PentaxForums received the following, slightly different, statement refuting the rumor:
This is not a fact at all. It is true that Hoya is the owner of the PENTAX trademark, but there are no restrictions or limitations for Ricoh to use the Pentax brand in the camera business. We will continue to offer the Pentax brand cameras beyond 2020.