*NEWS*INK LAWSUITS LOOMS LARGE IN KOREA

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*NEWS*INK LAWSUITS LOOMS LARGE IN KOREA

 user 2006-11-14 at 12:03:00 pm Views: 59
  • #16849

    Refill Ink Lawsuits Loom Large in Korea
    November , 2006 The world printer industry now sees a series of lawsuits over ink patents, as printer makers aggressively defend their intellectual properties against refill ink companies. And such moves are expected to deal a blow to Korean refill kit makers which account for a significant chunk of the world market.According to Bloomberg, the world’s largest printer maker HP has filed a complaint in Germany against a subsidiary of InkTec, a Korea-based manufacturer of inks and home refill kits, for allegedly violating its ink patent.This is the first time that HP filed a lawsuit against a Korean ink cartridge maker, and the company is seeking some 1.2 billion won in damage, according to InkTec.HP has been vigorously defending its intellectual properties in the area after CEO Mark Herd took helm, suing U.S. office supply retailer OfficeMax in June and Chinese cartridge maker G&G Nine Star in August this year for patent infringement.Multinational printer makers have filed a series of patent lawsuits targeting fast-growing Korean refill ink makers.Earlier, the main office of Cannon sued Samsung Electronics and Packen OPC for violating its patent laser photoconductive drum, and the court ruled in favor of the multinational firm in last month. The ruling hit the two refill ink makers in the both home and overseas markets. Epson also filed a case against a domestic refill ink maker, fueling such moves.A series of lawsuits filed by multinational printer vendors like HP and Cannon are testament to how vigorously they guard the lucrative ink cartridge market where they face a growing threat from Korean refill kit makers in terms of technological prowess and brand power.Printer makers are expected to continue filing cases against ink, toner and drum companies, as the printer industry moves from hardware sales to so-called after market including dispensable products.According to market research firm Stanford C Bernstein, sales in ink and toner business accounted for 80% of 5.6 billion dollar-worth operating profit HP posted in last year.The rub is that multinational printer makers now target domestic refill ink and kit makers. The domestic printer market has been dominated by multinational vendors, expect Samsung Electronics, and the refill ink business has managed to help domestic firms sell products at home and abroad.”Ink patents are like a tinderbox in the printer market,” said an industry observer. “Domestic firms need to develop countermeasures against complaints filed by multinational printer makers.”