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 user 2003-10-03 at 10:20:00 am Views: 107
  • #7555
    Federal Court Upholds Fairness And Legality Of Lexmark’s Cartridge Return Program
    Lexmark International Inc. said a federal judge in California upheld the fairness and legality of its cartridge return program, ruling against the Arizona Cartridge Remanufacturers Association Inc.

    The ACRA filed suit in September 2001 challenging the program, which provides customers an upfront discount in exchange for their agreement to return the used cartridges only to Lexmark for remanufacturing or recycling. The group alleged the program, in place since 1997, violates California laws prohibiting unfair and deceptive business practices and deceptive advertising.

    In a press release Thursday, Lexmark said the court confirmed that post-sale conditions on a patented article lie fully within the rights granted patent holders under federal patent law.

    ACRA’s lead counsel in the case, Ron Katz, said he recommended the group appeal the verdict, but no decision has been made. The ACRA has 30 days to file an appeal, he said.

    Lexmark remains in litigation over the cartridge program with privately held Static Control Components Inc. In February, Lexmark said a District Court in Kentucky issued a preliminary injunction against Static Control, Sanford, N.C., ordering it to stop making or selling its Smartek microchip used in the remanufacturing of laser toner cartridges for some Lexmark printers.

    Static Control is one of the sponsors of the ACRA lawsuit, Lexmark said.

    A Lexmark spokesman wasn’t aware of any other lawsuits involving the cartridge program other than those in California and North Carolina.