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 user 2005-04-03 at 12:55:00 pm Views: 114
  • #29160

    independent Ink Wins Anti-Trust Appeal

    4/2005 Independent Ink Inc. an independent distributor and
    supplier of printer ink products, won its appeal in an anti-trust lawsuit
    against Illinois Tool Works Inc. (NYSE: ITW) and its wholly-owned subsidiary
    Trident Inc. on Jan. 25, 2005. This decision overrides the June 18, 2002,
    Central District of California court decision that disagreed with Independent
    Ink, ruling that ITW and Trident were not guilty of patent tying and thereby
    conferring market power, according to Section 1 of the Sherman Act and dismissed
    the case.

    Trident is a manufacturer of patented ink containers, non-patented ink, and
    piezoelectric print heads and owns U.S. Patent No. 5,343,226 describing its
    inkjet print head technology. Although the ink is not patented, its standard
    license agreements declare the right to “manufacture, use and sell … inkjet
    printing devices” to other printer manufacturers only “when used in combination
    with ink and ink supply systems supplied by Trident.”

    According to the judgment, ITW/Trident licenses its products to OEMs as a
    package and requires them “to purchase their ink for Trident-based systems
    exclusively from Trident.” In essence, ITW’s packaging of patented and
    non-patented technologies locks out competition from various third-party ink
    manufacturers, including Independent Ink, that also offer ink for use in ITW’s
    print head systems.