*NEWS*WHO's SCARED OF THE BIG-BAD EPSON CORP ?
*NEWS*WHO's SCARED OF THE BIG-BAD EPSON CORP ?
2008-05-20 at 10:59:56 am #19967http://www.rechargermag.com/articles/62440/
Epson, U.S. Customs Busy Enforcing Patents
, 2008 Epson America Inc. announced that vigorous enforcement of its
ink cartridge patents continues on many fronts following the Final
Determination and Exclusion Orders by the U.S. International Trade
Commission (“ITC”). The decision made in October 2007 bars imports of
infringing ink cartridges for Epson printers.“Epson strongly recommends
that all importers and distributors of cartridges for Epson printers
take appropriate precautions to avoid infringement and potential
seizures and liability,” said Alf Andersen, assistant general counsel,
Epson America Inc.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Service (U.S. Customs), which is responsible for enforcing the ITC
General Exclusion Order, has been inspecting incoming cartridge
shipments and seizing infringing cartridges.The U.S. Customs and Border
Protection Service (U.S. Customs), which is responsible for enforcing
the ITC General Exclusion Order, has been inspecting incoming cartridge
shipments and seizing infringing cartridges. Recently, the ITC issued a
Seizure and Forfeiture Order against Mipo America Inc. of Miami, Fla.,
after a U.S. Customs seizure. Last month, U.S. Customs issued a
Certification that requires all importers of new and refilled ink
cartridges to certify, under penalty of perjury, that importation of
the cartridges does not violate the Orders.
Earlier this year,
Epson filed three enforcement complaints with the ITC against three
large foreign suppliers of ink cartridges and their U.S. subsidiaries
alleging continuing imports and sales of new and refilled infringing
cartridges in violation of the ITC orders. The three foreign suppliers
are Ninestar Technology Co. Ltd. of Zhuhai, China (supplier of G &G
and OA100 brand cartridges); Mipo International Ltd. of Hong Kong
(supplier of Mipo brand cartridges); and Cana-Pacific Ribbons Inc. of
Vancouver, Canada (supplier of Butterfly brand and generic cartridges).
The ITC has the authority to issue penalties up to the greater of
$100,000 for each day of importation and sales of infringing products
or twice the commercial value of the infringing products. On May 1,
2008, The ITC instituted formal enforcement procedings against the
Ninestar and Mipo companies. The ITC has not yet acted on Epson’s
complaint against the Cana-Pacific companies.
In April 2008,
Epson filed an additional patent infringement lawsuit in the U.S.
District Court in Portland, Ore. against four prominent internet
resellers of ink cartridges seeking permanent injunctions and
compensation. The complaint alleges that the four companies continued
to sell new or refilled ink cartridges that infringe 18 patents that
collectively cover innovations in numerous on-carriage cartridges used
in most Epson desktop inkjet printers, and off-carriage cartridges used
in Epson large format inkjet printers. The defendants in the new
lawsuit are Inkjetmadness.com, Inc., dba Inkgrabber.com of Simi Valley,
Calif.; Acecom Inc-San Antonio, dba Inksell.com of San Antonio, Texas;
Comptree Inc., dba Meritline.com of City of Industry, Calif.; and Media
Street Inc., dba Mediastreet.com of Deer Park, N.Y.
foreign manufacturers and exporters of ink cartridges for Epson
printers have closed their U.S. operations, apparently to avoid
liability.Epson recently took possession of 58,000 infringing inkjet
cartridges from the bankruptcy trustee for MMC America Inc., which was
the U.S. affiliate of Zhuhai Gree Magneto-Electric Co. Ltd., a Chinese
conglomerate that manufactures MMC brand cartridges. The bankruptcy
trustee surrendered the cartridges for destruction because the ITC
Orders prevented their resale. In addition to the MMC America
bankruptcy, many other foreign manufacturers and exporters of ink
cartridges for Epson printers have closed their U.S. operations,
apparently to avoid liability.“Since U.S.-based resellers can be
independently liable for substantial damages for patent infringement,
Epson urges resellers to be very careful regarding claims of
non-infringement and offers of patent indemnification from suppliers
that have only a minimal presence in the U.S.,” said Andersen.
maintains a Web site at http://www.itc.epson.com/ to provide U.S.
importers and distributors with timely information about the ITC action
and related U.S. District Court lawsuits. The U.S. Customs
Certification, ITC Exclusion Orders, ITC Seizure and Forfeiture Order,
ITC Enforcement Complaints and U.S. District Court complaints
referenced in this press release are all posted on the Web site with
other useful information, including a summary of the legal requirements
for refilled cartridges.Epson Portland Inc., Epson America Inc, and
Seiko Epson Corporation jointly filed the ITC action and numerous U.S.
District Court lawsuits as part of Epson’s extensive worldwide effort
to protect its intellectual property rights and investments in R&D
to produce high quality, innovative printers and ink cartridges. Epson
will continue to take whatever action is necessary to protect itself
from ongoing infringements and unfair competition at every level of
product manufacture, distribution and sale.