Lexmark hits ink cartridge cloners with suit

Claims IP being infringed

Printer giant Lexmark has filed a patent infringement suit against 24 companies, accusing them of importing and selling replacement inkjet and toner cartridges that violate its intellectual property.

The names of the accused companies have not yet been made public, but Lexmark's US International Trade Commission complaint is assumed to be connected to Chinese companies that manufacture Lexmark-compatible cartridges that undercut the Kentucky company's on price.

Lexmark wants damages, limitations placed on the unnamed importers, and legal fees.

The danger of Lexmark's strategy is that it draws attention to the controversial business model used by all print vendors to varying degrees, namely of offering low-cost printers with high-priced consumables.

In 2003, Lexmark infamously lost a suit that had invoked the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DCMA) to block a company it accused of cloning the control chip embedded in toner cartridges to 'authenticate' consumables.

The issue is how far rival makers of toner and ink cartridges should be allowed to go in undercutting the high prices charged by major printer manufacturers.

Rival HP has also been quick to call in the lawyers, such as the German case against a Korean company in 2006. The new legal wrangle is limited to the US.

A number of surveys have uncovered the huge waste associated with printer consumables at any price. One study form 2007 reckoned that inkjets can report ink cartridges to be empty when significant amounts of ink are still present.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags PrintersperipheralsSMEPersonal TechLexmark International

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John E Dunn

Techworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Skywatcher Dobsonian 8″ Collapsible Telescope

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Whodunnit™ Duo-Scope MFL-007 Microscope Kit

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Logitech Ultimate Ears Wonderboom 2 Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?