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 user 2007-12-19 at 4:17:00 pm Views: 89
  • #21151

    Staples and HP accused in federal lawsuit
    Dec 07 – A U.S. man sued office-products retailer Staples Inc and
    printer manufacturer Hewlett-Packard Co in federal court on Monday,
    charging they broke antitrust laws in collaborating on the sale of
    replacement ink-jet printer cartridges.In a lawsuit filed in U.S.
    District Court in Boston, Ranjit Bedi charged that the two companies
    had reached “an illegal agreement between competitors to stop
    competing” when HP paid Staples, the biggest U.S. specialty retailer of
    office supplies, “market development funds” to stop selling
    non-HP-branded ink-jet printer cartridges for HP printers.The suit
    contends that HP, the world’s largest personal computer maker, paid
    Staples more than $100 million to stop selling lower-priced printer
    cartridges for HP printers. The suit does not make clear how Bedi, of
    Pacific Palisades, California, determined the $100 million number.The
    suit, which seeks class-action status, claims that the actions violated
    the Sherman Act and Clayton Act, which prohibit noncompetitive
    behavior. It seeks unspecified money damages and asks the court to stop
    HP and Staples from engaging in noncompetitive acts.Spokesmen for
    Framingham, Massachusetts-based Staples and Palo Alto, California-based
    HP both said their companies had not yet seen the suit and declined
    further comment.

    $8,000-per-gallon printer ink leads to antitrust lawsuit

    Boston man has filed a class-action lawsuit accusing hardware maker HP
    and office supply retailer Staples of colluding to inflate the price of
    printer ink cartridges in violation of federal antitrust law. According
    to the suit, HP allegedly paid Staples $100 million to refrain from
    selling inexpensive third-party ink cartridges, although the suit
    doesn’t make it clear how plaintiff Ranjit Bedi arrived at that
    figure.For most printer companies, ink is the bread and butter of their
    business. The price of ink for HP ink-jet printers can be as much as
    $8,000 per gallon, a figure that makes gas-pump price gouging look
    tame. HP is currently the dominant company in the printing market, and
    a considerable portion of the company’s profits come from ink.The
    printer makers have been waging an all-out war against third-party
    vendors that sell replacement cartridges at a fraction of the price.
    The tactics employed by the printer makers to maintain monopoly control
    over ink distribution for their printing products have become
    increasingly aggressive. In the past, we have seen HP, Epson, Lenovo
    and other companies attempt to use patents and even the Digital
    Millennium Copyright Act in their efforts to crush third-party ink
    distributors.The companies have also turned to using the ink equivalent
    of DRM, the use of microchips embedded in ink cartridges that work with
    a corresponding technical mechanism in the printer that blocks the use
    of unauthorized third-party ink. Adding insult to injury, most printers
    are lying, filthy ink thieves, according to a recent study,
    misreporting that they are low on ink when they are not.Bedi’s suit
    asks for unspecified damages and an injunction barring the two
    companies from engaging in anticompetitive business practices.