October 15th, 2013

An open letter to all Authorities Having Jurisdiction, Maintenance Contractors, Consultants, and Equipment Owners in the United States and Canada:

The topic of signage on escalator & moving walk handrails has been one of considerable discussion over the past several years.

ASME A17.1-2010/CSA B.44-10, section, specifies that no “additional signage” shall be permitted within the “safety-zone” of the escalator.  Similar language can be found in pertaining to moving walks.  The same paragraph goes on to define the Safety Zone as an area that extends 118” (3m) horizontally outward from the newel and cautions that additional signage should not impede traffic flow.  ASME A17.3 – 2011 only addresses mandatory Caution Signs and contains no language regarding Additional Signage.

Various interpretations of the “additional signage” wording have in the past lead to acceptance of handrail signage in some jurisdictions and refusal in others.

The purpose of this communication is to provide an update on code revisions, address perceived safety concerns, and open a channel for feedback and additional requests for information.

Late 2011; the A17 Escalator and Moving Walk Committee unanimously approved revisions to sections and and the creation of and   These changes specifically permit handrail signs or graphics on escalators and moving walks providing that they do not distract, impede passenger flow, or impair the operation of safety devices.  At their May 9 2012 meeting, the A17 Standards Committee approved these revisions for publication in A7.1 – 2013.

The benefits of simple motion indicators on handrails have been widely known for decades; they provide better visual cues of speed and direction of travel for escalator passengers, especially for children and the elderly.  With today’s evolved print technology it is now possible to provide handrail motion indicators in full-color and in high-resolution; resulting in opportunities to convey safety, directional, or other information to the riding public in a tactile and interactive way.

In a world where we are bombarded with distractions handrail signs and graphics direct passenger focus to the escalator; improving the frequency of handrail holding and of natural steps both on & off the escalator.

Pilot installations on four escalators in the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority demonstrated how handrail signage can be used to positively reinforce the mandatory Caution Signage required in and to further mitigate accident risks.

There are presently two types of handrail signs and graphics; one designed to be changed regularly on-site, the other a permanent addition to the handrail.   Both have undergone rigorous testing in aggressive laboratory environments and with extensive world-wide field installations.

Temporary installations are accomplished with the addition of a durable composite thermoplastic film; engineered specifically for field-application to escalator and moving walk handrails.   Stringent procedures and quality guidelines ensure that handrails must pass inspection prior to application and daily unit start-up and shut-down procedures are supplemented with additional inspection requirements.

Further information is available to all upon request and feedback based on your experiences with handrail signs and graphics is most welcome.

The cooperation of all Authorities Having Jurisdiction in granting any required variances until such time as A17.1 -2013 has been adopted is a step forward in improving Passenger Safety on Escalator and Moving Walks and is sincerely appreciated.

EHC GLOBAL Handrail Signage

For further information; please contact:

Patrick R. Bothwell  |  Director of Sales  |  EHC GLOBAL
Telephone: 1-905-447-6709

US Patent # 8206528 – Methods of Applying a Film with Barrier Layer

EHC has been granted Patent #8206528 for applying a film with a barrier layer to rubber escalator handrails. This innovative technology increases the durability of rubber ADRail handrails and allows these handrails to maintain their appearance over longer periods of time.

Application Date: November 7, 2008 and granted on June 26, 2012.


Favorable UK Opinion – EHC’s Escalator Handrail Advertising Patent #1152971

On November 17, 2009, the Intellectual Property Office of the United Kingdom (“UKIPO”) issued a non-binding opinion with respect to the UK national patent of EHC’s European patent number 1152971. Contact EHC for copies of the patent or the opinion. The opinion is an opinion of a single patent examiner and was prepared in response to a request citing specific documents submitted by a third party.

EHC wishes to emphasize that the opinion is non-binding and does not serve to invalidate the patent in the UK or any other country. In other words, EHC’s patent rights granted under European Patent No. 1152971 have not changed and EHC will continue to assert its rights against anyone who infringes them.

In any subsequent litigation, EHC would not be bound by the opinion or by any statements made during the opinion procedure. In any UK patent litigation, the claims would be subject to a more detailed and thorough analysis than in the enclosed opinion, which would include a Court hearing as well as expert evidence. The outcome of such litigation may well be different from the findings of the opinion which was rendered without the benefit of expert testimony.

The opinion was prepared in accordance with UK patent law. The application of patent law varies by country, and therefore there is no certainty that the findings in this opinion have any applicability to patents in other countries, including national parts of this European patent in other European countries.

In preparing the opinion, the role of the UKIPO examiner was to review only the specific documents provided with the request for the opinion and determine whether or not the claims of EHC’s patent are invalid because they define subject matter that is not new (“lack of novelty”) or obvious (“lack of inventive step”). Of the 30 claims of EHC’s patent, only claims 1 to 6 and 9 were challenged in the request for the opinion. Thus, it would appear that the requester implicitly acknowledged that claims 7 and 8 and 10 to 30 are valid.

The UKIPO examiner stated that claims 3, 4, 5 and 9 were valid over the prior art.

The UKIPO examiner found that claims 1 and 2 are invalid for lack of novelty, deciding that a prior art reference had disclosed the concept of a handrail having a single film layer and a layer of adhesive bonding the film layer to the handrail, and includes printed matter on top or underneath the film layer, among other things. The UKIPO examiner also found that claim 6 is invalid for lack of inventive step, deciding that the concept of providing a film with a solid colour or a repeated pattern is not inventive when applied to a single film. EHC does not agree with the opinion and will continue to assert its patent rights.

The claims of a patent define the scope of the subject matter that is protected. Claim 3, which the opinion deems to be both novel and inventive over the prior art, depends on claim 1. This means that claim 3 incorporates all of the limitations of claim 1, but further specifies that there is a second film layer and a second layer of adhesive bonding the second film layer on top of the first film layer. Thus, claim 3 grants to EHC the exclusive rights to a handrail having a first film layer and a layer of adhesive bonding the film layer to the handrail, printed matter on top of or underneath the first film layer, and a second film layer and a second layer of adhesive bonding the second film layer on top of the first film layer.

Overall, EHC regards the results of the opinion to be positive.

The majority of the prior art reviewed by the UKIPO examiner had not been reviewed by the European Patent Office during the pre-grant examination of the patent, and is assumed to be the most relevant prior art known to the requester.

Nonetheless, the majority of the claims were held to be valid especially those critical to the preferable means for commercialisation of the invention.

However, EHC is currently considering its options with respect to appealing the opinion.

EHC takes intellectual property rights seriously. EHC is committed to protecting its innovation in Europe and around the world, and will continue to aggressively pursue any encroachment of its patent rights.

US Patent # 7108905 Granted – Film For Applying To Escalator Handrails

EHC (Escalator Handrail Company – founded by Ronald H. Ball) has been granted Patent #7108905 for displaying ads, graphics and messages onto a film (pressure sensitive adhesive) for escalator handrails.

Application Date: April 22, 2002 and granted on September 19, 2006