Hewlett-Packard has taken third-party inkjet cartridge manufacturer MicroJet from Taiwan and a few other companies from Hong Kong to the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco), alleging six of their product patents were infringed.
In the 28-page complaint filed on 5 March, HP claimed that these companies's HP-compatible inkjet cartridges infringed six of HP’s patents: US patent Nos. 6,234,598; 6,409,053; 6,398,347; 6,481,817; and 6,402,279. These patents apply mainly to the HP 27/28 and HP 56/57 cartridges and other similar models.
Hewlett-Packard says Taiwan's MicroJet manufactured and sold the allegedly infringing ink cartridges not only under its own brand name, but also sold generic and/or made-to-order products and printheads to other companies, including Mipo and PTC. It claims Mipo and PTC then resold the accused products to the markets, including the US. Sinotime is accused of selling the allegedly infringing products on Amazon under the name "All Colors" and advertising the products as "remanufactured" cartridges.
Facing the infringement accusation, MicroJet responded in a press release, "All products manufactured by us are created with our own research and development efforts." MicroJet says they currently own 251 patents with another 213 patents under examination. In a telephone interview, Alex Chuang, president of PTC from Hong Kong, pointed out, "PTC was established less than two years ago. PTC stands for Professional Toner Cartridges. We mainly carry laser cartridges, OPC drums and toner. We have never sold a single HP compatible inkjet cartridge to the US market. We take no interest whatsoever in the production of compatible inkjet cartridges. As for the cartridges we resell, they are remanufactured products" Mipo defended by saying, "We have no business relations with Microjet. It has never happened that Mipo purchased any of the allegedly infringing products from Microjet."
HP also claimed that Mipo and MicroJet converted more than 300,000 "genuine HP printheads from HP facilities in Asia" HP reported that in 2006 and early March 2007 certain component parts appeared to have been unlawfully taken from its facilities in Asia. And it is reported that trucks carrying HP parts were hijacked while en route from the Singapore factory to a Malaysian assembly plant in March and September 2007. HP says that each genuine HP printhead is marked with a unique product identifier FID. And such an identifier was found in the "Mipo"cartridges acquired by HP from Amazon.
Mipo reponded to this in a statement, "HP's accusation is groundless. Mipo is a professional remanufacturer of printer cartridges. We never converted any cartridges." Some media have given misleading information about the leaking accidents taking place in HP Asian facilities. MicroJet clarified in its statement that it has had absolutely no involvement in any thefts of HP components. Mipo also expressed its resentment against the misleading information given in the media.
The companies being sued by HP include MicroJet from Taiwan, Mipo and its subsidiaries, PTC Holdings Ltd from Hong Kong and Sinotime Technologies Inc. located in Miami. HP seeks a court order blocking infringement plus triple the damages caused by the infringement as well as other monetary awards. MicroJet stated that the compensation would not be determined until the court starts its hearing of the case and comes to a decision. According to their current estimation, this incident will not influence the company’s operations and finances.
MicroJet, Mipo and PTC are now seeking legal advice. And will closely follow the development of the case. Recycling Times will also give timely coverage of this case.
Original Source: HP sues ink cartridge suppliers from Taiwan and Hong Kong
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