*NEWS*HP CRACKS DOWN ON CTG REFILL IND.

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*NEWS*HP CRACKS DOWN ON CTG REFILL IND.

 user 2005-10-26 at 12:42:00 pm Views: 61
  • #14368

    HP cracks down on cartridge refill industry
    Hewlett-Packard
    on Thursday accused a national cartridge reseller of refilling used
    printer cartridges with ink that relies on a formula for an HP-patented
    ink brand.
    In its letter to Cartridge World, HP asked the company to
    stop using inks with the same chemical composition that’s found in its
    patented brand of Vivera inks. HP holds 9,000 patents related to
    imaging and printing, 4,000 of them for consumable supplies such as ink
    and cartridges.
    Although not an official legal action, the letter to
    Cartridge World is part of a broader attempt to crack down on the ink
    cartridge refill industry, HP said.
    “HP spends millions of dollars
    annually in R&D to create innovations that benefit our customers,
    and we are rigorous in our protection of this investment,” Pradeep
    Jotwani, senior vice president of supplies in HP’s Imaging and Printing
    Group, said in a statement. “HP hopes that Cartridge World North
    America will assist its franchisees in quickly complying with the law.”
    Palo
    Alto, Calif.-based HP said it found multiple instances of cartridges
    filled with the infringing ink at Cartridge World’s U.S. franchises.
    The cartridges replace a handful of HP printer cartridges, including
    those numbered 56, 57 and 78, and would be used in HP’s DeskJet
    consumer printers.
    Representatives with Cartridge World North
    America in Emeryville, Calif., and its home office in Adelaide, South
    Australia, were not immediately available to comment on the accusations.
    Cartridge
    World, commonly found in strip malls and in business parks, refills
    empty inkjet cartridges from printer makers such as HP, Epson, Canon
    and Lexmark International and sells them at heavily discounted rates.
    For example, Cartridge World sells an HP 56-compatible cartridge for
    $17.72 instead of its usual retail price of $35.35. A discounted HP
    78-compatible cartridge that retails for $53.07 sells for $26.57 under
    Cartridge World pricing.
    Separately, HP said it settled its false-advertising lawsuit against Rhinotek Computer Products of Carson, Calif.
    Rhinotek
    acquires used HP ink cartridges and refills them with generic ink prior
    to resale. HP’s suit alleged that Rhinotek’s packaging failed to tell
    consumers that the “compatible” products are used.
    Rhinotek has
    denied any wrongdoing, but has agreed, among other things, to modify
    its packaging. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
    HP said it is using the Cartridge World and Rhinotek cases to draw attention to its intellectual-property rights.
    “HP
    has lost more than most of the other vendors in the aftermarket because
    they sell more than any other vendor,” said John Shane, a director at
    InfoTrends/CAP Ventures and an industry expert on the ink and toner
    market.
    The estimated retail value for cartridges used in HP inkjet
    machines in the United States in 2004 was about $6.3 billion, according
    to Shane. That’s just more than half the $12 billion Shane estimates as
    the amount for all cartridges for all machines used for desktops last
    year.
    And even though HP printer cartridges make up the majority,
    the company itself controls only 88 percent of the retail value. The
    remaining portion of that cartridge demand goes to refilling companies
    such as Cartridge World, InkCycle and Rhinotek.
    “HP products tend to
    be a little more difficult to recreate in the generic market because
    the refilling companies can’t make print heads, but a good portion of
    HP’s cartridge business is getting eaten up,” Shane said.
    The case draws many similarities to one that HP settled in June with InkCycle.
    HP
    initially filed the lawsuit in March 2005 after it discovered that
    refilled inkjet cartridges sold under the Staples brand contained
    patent-infringing ink. HP filed the lawsuit, but reached the settlement
    before going to court. InkCycle eventually changed its ink formula.
        

    HP says cartridge supplier infringed its patents
    MANHASSET,
    N.Y. – Hewlett-Packard Co. has notified ink cartridge supplier
    Cartridge World North America that it has discovered infringements of
    an HP ink patent in inks sold by multiple company franchisees.
    Hewlett-Packard
    (Palo Alto, Calif.), a leading supplier of inkjet printers, has become
    increasingly protective of its ink jet printing IP in recent months. In
    March, H-P uncovered alleged patent infringement in certain InkCycle
    cartridges sold under the Staples brand.
    HP and InkCycle resolved the matter after InkCycle changed its ink formulations.
    In
    a separate matter, HP and Rhinotek Computer Products have reached a
    settlement in a lawsuit HP filed in March 2005, alleging Rhinotek
    acquired used HP ink cartridges and refilled them with generic ink
    prior to resale. HP’s suit accused Rhinotek of failing to adequately
    inform consumers the cartridges were used.
    Rhinotek has denied any
    wrongdoing, but agreed to modify its packaging to prominently disclose
    to consumers that these cartridges are used, refilled or recycled