by Mike Masnick

Has HP Patented Refilling Ink?

from the seems-like-a-stretch dept

In a case that sounds somewhat reminiscent of Lexmark's (failed) attempts to use intellectual property law to block the competition, HP has decided to sue two companies that offer refilled ink cartridges for their printers. The ink business, of course, is big business -- with ink costing more than vintage champagne or high end perfume (depending on whose study you want to read). HP claims that they have nothing against customers choosing to buy refilled cartridges, but they have problems with these two refilling companies. The first one is accused of patent violations, which seems like an odd issue. The details (buried all the way at the end of the article) say the patents are about the type of ink -- which seems bizarre. Even more bizarre is that HP seems to make it very clear in the filing that if the three patents they've picked out don't stick, they have another 9,000 to choose from (which sounds eerily like IBM's patent attack on Sun years ago: "OK, maybe you don't infringe these seven patents. But we have 10,000 U.S. patents. Do you really want us to go back to Armonk and find seven patents you do infringe? Or do you want to make this easy and just pay us $20 million?"). The other claim makes a bit more sense, as HP says the second firm is packaging the refilled cartridges as if they were new -- which could lead to consumer confusion. Still, these lawsuits do seem like a simple attempt to scare off certain ink refillers.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  • identicon
    Alicia, 7 Nov 2014 @ 3:05am

    remanufactured ink

    I heard about that type of issue with Epson. Epson has been really strict of using their brand name or keywords for advertising for non-OEM (Compatible ink) cartridges.
    Very good article and enjoyed reading it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.