A series of patent infringement lawsuits have been filed by Canon and Epson against dozens of remanufacturers.
Canon took an aggressive measure to protect its patents by launching a staggering 32 separate suits against aftermarket parties, from Ninestar Corp. to Static Control and Print-Rite, The Recycler reported. These alleged infringements cover a series of nine patents involving Canon’s process cartridge, electrophotographic image forming apparatus and electrophotographic photosensitivie drum unit.
Canon claims 21 defendants infringed all nine patents while another 20 companies violated seven of the patents, according to The Recycler. The OEM is seeking a jury trial and to enjoin these companies from further acts of infringement. Canon is also seeking monetary damages and legal costs.
Epson also announced that Epson America, Inc., Epson Portland Inc. and Seiko Epson Corp. filed two patent infringement complaints, one on March 1, against Try The Ink, LLC/InkPro2day, LLC and another on March 2, against E-Z Ink Inc. The complaints allege infringement of claims from U.S. Patent 6,502,917, U.S. Patent 8,794,749, and U.S. Patent 8,454,116. These patent claims were already adjudicated in well-publicized actions filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), resulting in two General Exclusion Orders barring the importation of all newly built and remanufactured cartridges that infringe the claims, according to Epson.
These two additional lawsuits underscore Epson’s expansion of its enforcement efforts to include infringing sellers of large format printer cartridges and remanufactured cartridges using third-party infringing circuit boards. Epson’s concerted campaign is focused on protecting Epson’s intellectual property and ensuring that legitimate resellers can compete fairly for sales of printer supplies for Epson printers.
Epson has a long history of vigorous legal action to protect the company, consumers and legitimate resellers from unfair competition. These two most recent lawsuits supplement Epson’s earlier enforcement efforts and allege extensive sales of patent-infringing cartridges and seek permanent injunctions against further infringements and monetary damages.
Epson’s enforcement program has included the following broad range of efforts to reach infringers throughout the distribution and sales channels:
- Two ITC actions resulting in the -565 and -946 General Exclusion Orders that prohibit all imports into the U.S. of a wide range of infringing cartridges for Epson consumer inkjet printers, business inkjet printers, and large format professional printers.
- Since November 2016, Epson has filed 10 patent infringement lawsuits against internet marketplace resellers infringing Epson’s patents and violating the General Exclusion Orders.
- Frequent enforcement takedowns against intellectual property infringements and trademark misuse through the brand protection programs administered by eBay and Amazon.
- Notice and communications programs to encourage fair competition by informing resellers of Epson’s intellectual property rights and the procedures for accurately and fairly listing printer supplies for marketplace sales.
“We are encouraged that our enforcement programs have resulted in compliance on top internet marketplaces, which largely sell consumer and business inkjet printer cartridges,” said Jilana Miller, assistant general counsel for Epson. “However, we continue to address the persistent culture of infringement and unfair competition perpetrated on internet marketplaces and through other channels. These recent complaints mark an expansion of our program to include enforcement against resellers of large format printer cartridges and remanufactured cartridges that negatively impact fair competition.”