Hp Loses Toner Patent Case To Nederlands 123inkt.nl.
By Gerben Kreuning.
The Court of Appeals at The Hague in The Netherlands has ruled that a European patent of HP on a chip for ink cartridges is invalid. With this patent HP tried to prevent that companies such as 123inkt.nl can sell private label cartridges for HP-printers.
On May 24, 2017 the court rendered judgment in appeal proceedings between HP and 123inkt.nl. The appeal was from an earlier decision of the district court at The Hague of 25 November 2015, in which the district court also ruled in favor of 123inkt.nl. HP is of the opinion that chips on private label ink cartridges of 123inkt.nl infringe a European patent of HP for chips with fields for validating cartridge data and a method for validating these data. HP requested a ban on the sale of a large number of private label cartridges, and reimbursement of its damages or payment of 123inkt.nl's profits.
123inkt.nl is of the opinion that the HP patent does not contain a new invention and has therefore been wrongfully granted. "The patent is an expensive trick to block sellers of private label cartridges and is abused by HP to create a monopoly", is 123inkt.nl's opinion.
The court has ruled that de patented chip is not new or inventive and has completely annulled the patent on the chip. Before, the district court had only annulled part of the patent on the chip. The court has maintained the patent on the method, but ruled that 123inkt.nl does not indirectly infringe that part of the patent. The court held that purchasers of a HP printer also get a license to use that HP method with that HP printer. The court denied all claims of HP; no ban on sales, no payment of profits or reimbursement of damages and HP is ordered to pay to 123inkt.nl an amount of â‚¬ 124.053 for litigation costs. 123inkt.nl is free to continue selling private label cartridges for HP-printers.
123inkt.nl director Gerben Kreuning sees the judgement not only as a victory for his company but also for his customers: "This decision is great news for everybody that has a HP printer! The consumer should be able to choose between expensive HP ink cartridges and less expensive, but equal private label cartridges. Large, powerful printer manufacturers, such as HP and Samsung try to scare us with huge claims, but we do not give in to patents that are not inventive. The only thing they try to accomplish is to restrict the freedom of choice for consumers."
In recent years, 123inkt.nl has been involved in various court cases with printer manufactures. In 2016, 123inkt.nl did get worldwide media attention for a dispute with HP because HP printers suddenly refused private label cartridges. HP had made the use of non-HP cartridges impossible through a preprogrammed feature in the printer, but HP eventually undid that blockade and apologized. Also other printer manufacturers took aim at 123inkt.nl. The Court of Appeals at The Hague also ruled in favor of 123inkt.nl in a judgement 21 April 2015 in a patent dispute with Samsung.