*NEWS*HP CRACKS DOWN ON CTG REFILL IND.
*NEWS*HP CRACKS DOWN ON CTG REFILL IND.
2005-10-26 at 12:42:00 pm #14368
HP cracks down on cartridge refill industry
on Thursday accused a national cartridge reseller of refilling used
printer cartridges with ink that relies on a formula for an HP-patented
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
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.”
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
(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.
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