HP sues over its ink patents

HP sues over its ink patents

Korea-based InkTec under fire for cartridge refilling products

HP is taking legal action against a German subsidiary of a Korean company for violating HP's printer ink patents.

It filed a formal complaint in Germany's court system on Wednesday alleging that InkTec-branded "do-it-yourself" cartridge refill kits violated HP's patents. Even though InkTec is in South Korea, HP filed the complaint in Germany because that was where the suspect ink cartridges were found.

HP said the discovery of the infringing InkTec products is the result of ongoing testing and enforcement efforts within the Supplies unit of HP's Imaging and Printing Group. Over the past year, the same initiative has uncovered ink patent infringements by other companies that offer generic ink supplies through refilling stations or "private label" brands.

Both its inks and ink cartridges were highly engineered and protected by multiple patents, HP said. They were considered the highest margin products sold by HP, which also sells desktop and notebook computers, servers and storage technology, printers and other products.

Because replacement cartridges cost $US30 or more apiece, numerous businesses have sprung up in recent years to refill existing cartridges for sometimes half the price of a new cartridge.

InkTec is a provider of inks, remanufactured cartridges and cartridge refill kits whose stock trades on the Korean stock exchange.

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