HP settles inkjet cartridge patent complaints

Hewlett-Packard reaches agreement on several patent violation complaints filed last year against makers of compatible inkjet cartridge.

Hewlett-Packard says it has resolved several patent violation complaints filed against manufacturers of compatible inkjet cartridges.

Last September, the tech giant--arguably best known as a printer maker--had filed its latest complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), claiming that several makers of cartridges for use in inkjet printers were infringing on HP patents by importing and selling their products in the United States. Following an investigation by the ITC, 11 different companies were found to have violated patents related to HP's 02 inkjet cartridges.

Among the 11 companies charged with patent infringement, InkPlusToner.com and Comptree Ink reached settlements with HP. Both have paid HP an undisclosed amount in damages and have promised to stop selling the compatible 02 cartridges in the U.S. HP added that it expects to reach a similar agreement with SmartOne Services.

The ITC also approved the request of another company, Zhuhai Gree Magneto-Electric, to stop the investigation into alleged patent violations as long as it promises not to import or sell future compatible inkjet products in the U.S. Finally, HP said it expects the remaining seven companies to receive notices from the ITC ordering them to stop importing and selling the cartridges in question.

"HP is pleased with the outcome on these matters, and remains committed to vigorously pursuing legal enforcement against practices that do not respect HP's IP [intellectual property] rights," said Stephen Nigro, HP's senior vice president for Inkjet and Web Services Business, Imaging and Printing Group, in a statement Thursday.

HP has a long and fierce history of going after makers of compatible inkjet cartridges, typically charging them with patent infringement. Most of these cases have been settled with the manufacturers paying HP damages and promising to stop selling the cartridges in question.

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