HP settles cases with inkjet cartridge vendors

InkPlusToner.com and CompTree Ink will pay damages and stop selling infringing cartridges

Hewlett-Packard has settled patent infringement complaints that it filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission against inkjet cartridge vendors, HP said Thursday.

HP filed a complaint with the ITC in September 2009, alleging that companies including InkPlusToner.com and CompTree Ink were importing and selling inkjet supplies in the U.S. that infringed HP's patents. HP reached settlement agreements with those two companies, which will pay damages and stop selling cartridges.

HP also made the same allegations with the ITC against SmartOne Services and expects to reach an agreement soon. An administrative law judge at the ITC also approved a motion from Chinese company Zhuhai Gree Magneto-Electric that it would not import or sell products that allegedly violate HP patents.

HP said the companies, including seven others, violated patents related to cartridge design, ink level and delivery methods, according to a complaint on the ITC's Web site. The patents in question are 6,959,985, 7,104,630, 6,089,687 and 6,264,301.

The original complaint with the ITC also included complaints filed against other companies that HP accused of violating patents, but those disputes haven't been fully resolved yet. The ITC has passed a default judgment against those companies and HP hopes for a "satisfactory remedy" to resolve the disputes. The companies include BCInk, EZ Label and CDR DVDR Media in California; Mipo International of Hong Kong; and Mextec Group of Florida. Also listed are Shanghai Angel Printer Supplies, Shenzhen Print Media, Zhuhai National Resources, Jingjie Imaging Products, Tatrix International and Ourway Image, which are all in China.

"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 rights," said Stephen Nigro, senior vice president at HP's Imaging and Printing group.

InkPlusToner.com and CompTree Ink did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the settlement.

HP has gone after inkjet vendors many times in the past for violating patents. Earlier this month, the company filed a lawsuit against MicroJet, Mipo Technology, Mipo America,

Mipo Science & Technology, Mextec Group, Sinotime Technologies and PTC Holdings for infringing on patents.

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